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Broadcast on Facebook? The Meeting of TV and Social

November 30th, 2016   ||    by Melanie Brown

Chasing the migration of TV watching ability to web-connected platforms, Facebook is planning to develop a standalone platform for broadcasters. Over the course of its decade-plus lifespan, Facebook has bolstered its media standing to such a degree that the former social network is now considered a first screen—a primary source of news and content discovery and sharing—rather than the second screen advertisers once considered it to be.

Reaching the Niches

Broadcast on Facebook is, in many ways, a logical next step for content producers and advertisers alike, suggests Business Insider. Where Facebook’s key value to advertisers used to be extending reach to as many people as possible, it has now become both a highly valued source of data and a way to reach audiences who’ve cut the cord from traditional television.

Reaching these audiences—typically younger millennial and Gen Z viewers—has always been an uphill battle for traditional broadcasters and advertisers. It seems that new ways to consume content are popping up every day, making it ever more difficult to reach audiences at a large scale. For broadcasters, who are experiencing audience fragmentation like they’ve never seen before, any opportunity to reach and hold onto those audiences is a tally in the win column.

Sharing the Revenue

This platform for content broadcast on Facebook is not meant to take ad revenue away from linear television, but rather to share it. Thinkbox CEO Lindsey Clay emphasizes that Facebook’s aim is to collaborate with broadcasters—not compete with them for ad revenue, as she tells The Drum.

Broadcasters can now distribute their content on a first screen, where audiences are spending their time, in order to build better relationships with their viewers. These same relationships have been harder and harder to maintain in the current fragmented TV landscape. Facebook already offers a “Live” feature that lets users broadcast anything live out to their friends and followers; adding content from third parties will just diversify the offerings and bring Facebook’s platform closer to that of a traditional TV broadcaster.

Targeting the Right Consumers

While content broadcast on Facebook additionally has the potential for advertisers to share in the huge ad revenues that Facebook is drawing on a yearly basis, it also creates opportunity for enhanced targeting. Facebook is a wealth of data. Every person with a profile has provided his or her own information, which is massively useful to advertisers who are always seeking to reach their target audiences. Display advertisers already maximize their ability to reach audiences by utilizing Facebook’s rich data sets; the same is now an option for television advertisers as well.

Though still in early stages, Facebook’s plans appear to underscore linear content consumption rather than supplant it. As such, the new venture may actually ease the feeling of competition that some TV broadcasters have with social platforms.

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