Under a deal announced earlier this week, Facebook will highlight coverage, the schedule and news about the games on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo, while NBC will remind users to log onto Facebook to discuss the games and see what their friends have to say about the events. NBC is making a push to truly change viewer experience, having launched two apps for iOS and some Android devices this week, one of which will stream every event and medal ceremony.
“TV networks have been slower to go social. A handful of shows have had social hosts, and others scroll Twitter feeds on the bottom of the screen, but there's a lot more to cover to keep user engagement social,” said John Corpus, CEO of Milyoni, which helps companies to put their content on Facebook. “The hot spot for TV is that engagement leads to connection and commitment.”
But the deal with Facebook gives NBC another edge: It marks one of the first times a major network has undertaken a sophisticated social media strategy. Beyond that, it may also help televised sporting events catch up in the social space; this year’s Super Bowl, for example, had no social media integration with the broadcast, although some advertisers did push such integration in their commercials, according to Corpus.
“Facebook getting involved will be good for NBC, good for the Olympics, and to individual athletes,” Corpus said. “This is the brink of a new style of entertainment consumption, and we look forward to seeing it in action in London.”
Tassoula Kokkoris, a social media enthusiast who appeared in the books “The World According to Twitter” and “Found Faces: Your World, Your Images," said Facebook can expect spikes in traffic and new accounts being opened by non-Facebook users who want to jump into the discussions. She did raise some concerns about casual viewers being overwhelmed with information and content, but ultimately thinks it's a good thing for NBC, Facebook and viewers.
“Now, instead of just gathering at a sports bar to watch an exciting match, viewers are sharing commentary online, live as it happens, and broadening their peer communities to include fans in other cities, states or even countries,” she said. “This is a good thing.”
NBC seems intent on exploiting social media at an unprecedented pace in its coverage. A similar deal is expected with Twitter, and the company has already been hosting Google+ hangouts where fans can ask questions of qualified athletes.
“The partnership between NBC and Facebook symbolizes a shift in the way that communities are emerging from new media,” Kokkoris said. “In 2008 and even 2010 during the Olympics, social networks like Facebook were alive and well, but didn't have the activity (or numbers) that they have today.”
Photo by tompagenet.