Things are about to get a lot more interesting for television networks on Facebook. According to the Wall Street Journal, the social network has revealed plans to provide weekly analytics and engagement reports for a select group of broadcast companies.
America’s four largest television networks — ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS — will receive a glimpse of how much buzz their shows are generating on Facebook. The reports will include how many Likes, comments, or shares a TV episode has “inspired” on the social network and how many members participated in one of these actions.
The new reports, which will not be made public, are fairly limited. For example, they show that a recent episode of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars generated more than one million interactions from about 750,000 people. To reach that, Facebook had to create a library of keywords for each show, including the name of main characters. The company hopes to include more data over time.
This news follows the recent launch of APIs that give broadcasters great access to Facebook data. The company also began allowing anyone to embed public posts in an effort to cut down on embedded tweets by publishers. Despite its current limitations, the company’s latest approach demonstrates how it’s trying to set itself apart from Twitter.
“The conversation is being generated by a group that is much more representative of the general population — that means we should have a better signal as it relates to ratings,” Daniel Slotwiner, the head of Facebook’s measurement team, told the Wall Street Journal.
If anything, the rivalry between Facebook and Twitter for broadcasters forces both services to make updates with advertisers in mind. Media helps raise engagement, user numbers, and drive ad spend on Twitter. Facebook, though popular with advertisers, still lags behind Twitter as a source for real-time news or discussions.
As Facebook adds more data, it’ll be interesting to see how much value these reports provide to the networks. Additionally, it could cause retaliation from Twitter, making its service even more valuable to broadcasters, advertisers, and even viewers.