Facebook wants to make TV more social

Facebook wants to make finding TV content, and how you connect to your friends around that content, more social.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook is always looking to break into new markets. One of those is TV. Palo Alto wants to make TV more social: by improving how you find your content and how you connect to your friends around that content.

Andy Mitchell, SVP of Strategic Partner Development at Facebook, told attendees of the TV marketing conference PromaxBDA this week that social program guides are the future. The social network could partner with TV providers to help their customers find relevant programming by leveraging their social graph.

"If you look at the program guide [as it stands now], you're trying to figure out what to watch among 500 channels. It's really hard," Mitchell said according to Adweek. "But think about a program guide where you see what your friends are watching, that changes the experience. I think the real opportunity is creating a [TV] experience in which one or two or three of your friends share [their] viewing experiences" which "get[s] people to become recruiters for your show."

In other words, Facebook would provide a real-time feed to broadcasters based on their friends' TV show Likes and check ins. Facebook says its users have Liked various TV shows over 1.65 billion times. Earlier this year, the company noted that it has spoken with broadcasters about the idea of putting their full Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) on Facebook as Events so that users could RSVP and check in to shows.

I would say that a very small subset of my Facebook friends watch the same shows as I do. That being said, seeing which TV shows are popular amongst my friends may push me towards checking them out.

Two weeks ago, cable giant Comcast unveiled its next-generation Xfinity TV interface that includes Facebook integration. One of the features is called "Friend Trends," which shows the content most popular among the viewer's Facebook friends on Hulu, Netflix, the Web, and TV. Comcast even built the Like button into its new cable experience, so viewers can Like a show straight from their remote control. I've embedded a video of Comcast's demonstration at the Cable Show in Chicago below – the Facebook part starts at the 12 minute 32 second mark.

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