Facebook Intros New Second Screen Tools for Live TV Viewing

The idea of second screen viewing — that users are interacting with social media platforms at the same time they watch live TV — came to fruition several years ago, but it’s still an area ripe for growth. That’s why Facebook, which already has a relationship between its site and live TV, has unveiled even more tools to reinforce the integration. Among the new tools are ways to let viewers make their opinions known via polling and voting, custom icons for TV shows, and a way for broadcasters to easily gather viewer feedback.

TechCrunch focused on one study on the Facebook for Business blog that revealed that, “85 percent of people who reported visiting a social network while watching TV said they visited Facebook.” Facebook partner engineering director Bob Morgan continued that, “Our own researchers discovered that Facebook usage peaks in primetime, in every country, and that the maximum daily Facebook audience occurs during maximum TV viewing.”

facebook33The new tools, many of which were developed with broadcast media partners, include polling for live events and, says TechCrunch, “new APIs that will allow partners to display specific Facebook content streams with much more ease.” Facebook’s new Hashtag Voting API, which allows broadcasters to quickly measure feedback on their Facebook Pages, was tested at the Teen Choice Awards. The company is also planning to release another polling API, as of yet unnamed.

To make it as easy as possible for viewers to engage with broadcasters, Facebook demonstrated an API, powered by Telescope, that is an easy way for broadcasters to “gather multimedia responses and contributions from their audience through uploader landing pages,” a tool ideal for presidential debates among other events.

With custom icons, live TV events will have their own icons and “to distinguish related content and offer some cool visual cohesion to the conversation happening around a specific event like the Emmys.” TechCrunch notes that Facebook’s efforts are similar to those made by Twitter, which recently added polling and custom emoji.

Twitter Confirms It’s Experimenting with Native Polls in Tweets, VentureBeat, 9/24/15
Twitter Tests Out Polls Inside Your Tweets, Digital Trends, 9/26/15

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