ABC’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Reaches Deal With Facebook For Content From New APIs

By David Cohen 

Dancing with the Stars,” ABC’s hit reality competition series, reached an agreement with Facebook to tap into the two application-programming interfaces it announced last week, the public feed API and the keyword insights API, to display conversations from the social network during broadcasts.

Variety broke the news of the partnership, saying that it marks Facebook’s first entertainment partnership involving the new APIs, and adding that Facebook will be able to break those conversations down by criteria including gender, age groups, and location, offering the example that ABC will be able to tell viewers if Snooki, one of this season’s contestants, is generating buzz among women in California.

The two APIs tap into public posts on Facebook in real-time. The public feed API displays a real-time feed of public posts for a specific word, while the keyword insights API tallies the total number of posts that mention a specific term during a specific time period, as well as enabling media outlets to feature anonymous, aggregated results based on gender, age, and location.

The two new APIs were initially released last Monday to a select group of media partners: BuzzFeed, CNN, NBC’s “Today,” British Sky Broadcasting, Slate, and Mass Relevance.

Facebook Director of Partnerships Nick Grudin told Variety:

People come to Facebook to connect with their friends and family, and they use their real identity. It creates a level of discourse that people say is of higher quality. That identity point is key to Facebook.

We saw 26.5 million Facebook interactions regarding the (MTV Video Music Awards) — comments, shares, and likes. When we dug into that, we found that the reactions came from 9 million people, and the total viewing audience of the VMAs was 10 million.

We’re seeing substantial engagement across the age spectrum. These APIs will expose that, including the topics discussed by different ages and what types of content other age groups are responding to.

The feedback that comes from social conversations can and should influence production decisions. We are excited to learn from the industry how this is going to be of use in that way. As a producer sees that a particular storyline or contestant is driving a higher degree of conversation, especially around a particular demographic or region, that information could be used to pivot or adapt storylines over time.

And ABC Entertainment Group Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Marla Provencio told Variety:

Being the first entertainment partner to leverage this new technology exhibits our commitment to producing the best live experience possible. We are always looking for ways to innovate and engage our loyal fan base, and we feel that “Dancing with the Stars,” in particular, is the perfect fit to kick off this new initiative.

Readers who watch “DWTS”: Will you pay closer attention to the Facebook conversations ABC chooses to highlight during the show?