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Facebook VP: ‘Facebook and TV happy bedfellows’

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for EMEA has suggested that although time spent online is now eclipsing time spent on television, we are living in a golden age of TV, with Facebook and TV “happy bedfellows”.

Delivering a Media Mastermind Keynote, she noted that video is exploding, quoting Cisco research predicting that it will account for 80 per cent of Internet data by 2019. “What we see on Facebook today is that there are over 4 billion video views every day, and 75 per cent of them are on mobile.”

She explained how Facebook had worked with Sky in the UK on the premiere for the last season of Game of Thrones. Facebook had 2.2 million people who were enthusiastic about Game of Thrones on its social network, but expanded it through similar franchises: The Walking Dead, Lord of the Rings, Borgias and Deadwood to reach an audience of 8.3 million people.

On the night of the premiere, Facebook helped Sky to push out sponsored video and photos to that audience. “Nielsen told us that the ad recall for this was three times the global average, and it drew a massive audience to the premiere,” she reported.

“This couldn’t have happened even two years ago. Facebook and TV really are happy bedfellows. We see Facebook usage peaks at exactly the same time TV viewing peaks in every country in the world. Eight per cent of people who are on social media are on Facebook, and they’re the ones that are on during live TV broadcasts,” she suggested.

Mendelsohn also revealed new tools Facebook was introducing for broadcasters. Hashtag voting and polling would enable people to cast their vote on Facebook in a post or comment, which producers can then take to use in the show. In addition Native Polling would allow viewers to give their opinions, even if they were not voting to influence a show.

Video and photo submission, had been used for the recent Republican presidential candidates debate on Fox, when viewers could submit videos with their questions via Facebook. A new Facebook Video Gallery feature would help producers curate this incoming content and showcase it online.

According to Mendelsohn a Suggested Videos experience would allow personalisation by recommending furter videos people would like to watch, when they spotted one in their news feed. “We are committed, we’ve put some of our very best engineering teams onto working on developing and building out the future of video on Facebook,” she said.

In terms of future developments, she said that Facebook was “absolutely committed” to mobile as the dominant platform, but was placing a bet on Oculus, Facebook’s virtual-reality headset division. “We think that’s going to rise in importance over the next decade. We think that in the next decade, virtual reality will become the mainstream.”

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