Facebook’s Social TV Group Hints At New Products

By Will M 

Facebook is launching a new content group to work with the film and television industries, and new products on the way will make non-friend and non-public data more available, which should help films and TV shows become even more social, Manager of Strategic Partner Development Nick Grudin said at the Social TV Summit in Bel-Air, Calif., earlier this month.

Grudin’s content team will focus on creating social experiences that enhance TV shows and movies, like the social network’s integration with the MTV Movie Awards in April. Grudin said Facebook is a place where “real people talk about the things they care about with their real friends,” adding that studios should make use of those social conversations during their creative process.

Facebook’s new content group has no sales goals, which was a relief to one senior industry executive I spoke with. In the past, he met with sales-oriented Facebook teams to figure out entertainment partnerships, but this did not result in the true creative collaboration he hoped for with Facebook.

The new products Grudin hinted at will make it even easier for users to access non-friend data and for companies to gain insights into non-public data.

In general, non-friend data means posts from people users are not directly connected to, and non-public data means information about users that have not liked pages or that are part of brands’ Facebook ad programs.

Grudin emphasized hashtags as a clear example of Facebook’s vision for products that help people connect around TV shows. Launched in June, hashtags in the News Feed are now clickable, and they will display all of the general, public conversation on Facebook happening around their topics. So users can easily see data from people who are talking about TV shows, even if they are not friends on Facebook — as long as their privacy settings allow it. He added:

Facebook is orienting toward shared interests, as well as friend content. There may be a celebrity or expert you want to hear more from than a friend on some things.

With hashtags, users must click on them to see the non-friend feed, but Facebook may become more proactive about sharing content.

“Keep an eye out for trending topics,” Grudin said. Trending topics were mentioned when hashtags launched on Facebook, and Grudin confirmed the feature. Trending topics would be a “natural progression,” he said, because Facebook’s goal is to create products to help people connect around the things they care most about.

Grudin acknowledged audience complaints that it is much more difficult to get social TV activity data from Facebook than from Twitter, saying that improvements are coming. When Facebook looks at its own social TV metrics, the numbers are “orders of magnitude” higher than other social platforms, he said, adding:

We are actively working on improvements to our APIs (application-programming interfaces) to make it easier. Over the next couple of months, we will have more information.

Readers: What new business models will open up for Facebook when it makes non-friend and non-public data about TV and movies more accessible?