Channel 5’s BB Facebook tie-up signals future

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Channel 5¹s decision to use Facebook as a voting platform for reality show Big Brother could kick-start a wave of similar strategies from other commercial broadcasters.

All broadcasters are eyeing ways to increase their dual-screen propositions, which means boosting their presence and integration with social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The result is that shows from ITV’s The X Factor to Channel 4’s Misfits already have huge Facebook followings – adding a voting application for a show is the next natural evolution.

Channel 5 already has arguably the closest relationship with Facebook, having embedded its TV catch-up player Demand 5 on the social network – and remains the only broadcaster to do so. It retains control of its video ads across its embedded player, while Facebook enjoys additional premium-quality broadcast content. This latest development is likely to prove even more beneficial.

Channel 5 can capitalise on reaching more eyeballs and to an already-established Facebook audience, while the association with a real-time TV show could really boost Facebook’s Credits uptake.

However, no-one has quite forgotten the scandal that arose a few years ago when broadcasters had to drop their mobile premium-rate service-based voting following a crack-down from regulator PhonepayPlus. The risk that viewers aren’t caught out by paying for votes which aren¹t counted is surely still not eradicated – the issue has just been transferred to a different platform – Facebook. It¹ll be up to the parties involved to ensure the system is water-tight so that future mobile voting strategies don’t risk the same fate.

Jessica Davies is a reporter at nma.co.uk

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