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Facebook Delivers Viewer Engagement Reports To TV Networks

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,20 hours | from the you-are-still-the-product dept.

Facebook 45

cagraham writes "Facebook has started delivering custom weekly reports to select TV networks, detailing the total amount of social interactions related to individual TV episodes.According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is using its data analytics to track the amount of times an episode is liked, shared, or mentioned each week. The data is then anonymized and delivered to networks. This comes a week after Twitter announced they were pursuing deals with major networks as well. Facebook may be trying to establish itself as a modern alternative to the traditional Nielsen ratings system, the current benchmark for gauging viewership."

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Breaking Bad (4, Funny)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996763)

If my 'feed' is anything to go by, the entire planet was watching "Breaking Bad" last night.

Re:Breaking Bad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996837)

You need to find new friends.

Re:Breaking Bad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 hours | (#44997203)

Why? People who like Breaking Bad are already the kind of friends you want.

Re:Breaking Bad (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 hours | (#44997263)

Ummmm... watching one of the best shows ever rather than reality TV is GOOD thing. They might actually be people worth knowing.

Re:Breaking Bad (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45001965)

For the first season or two I may have agreed with you somewhat. Wouldn't call it the 'best show ever', but it was decent.

But now? I stopped watching during the last season when I noticed that for the past season or two they'd been adding new characters every episode just to then kill them off on the next episode. Hallmark of a show that's run out of ideas and is devolving into a daytime soap. About time they ended it.

Re:Breaking Bad (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44997059)

I had never even heard of Breaking Bad until the last few weeks when suddenly a stupid television show became front page news. Must be a slow news month, or more likely standards have just hit a new low for what passes as "news" these days.

Re:Breaking Bad (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | 1 year,18 hours | (#44997699)

If my 'feed' is anything to go by, the entire planet was watching "Breaking Bad" last night.

According to my feed, half the planet downloaded it from eztv.it.

Re:Breaking Bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 hours | (#44998273)

Never seen it.

Don't fucking care.

Re:Breaking Bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 hours | (#45000193)

I like niggers

Re:Breaking Bad (2)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,14 hours | (#44998987)

Has anyone made a "Breaking Bad in 5 seconds" video? I'd like to see that. I've never seen the show, since I don't pay for TV; but I've been around someone who was enthusiastic about it. So far, just from the incredible bleed over into popular culture I've surmisd that the 5 second video would go something like this: WW: OMG, I've got cancer. I've got to provide for my family. (cut to scene of meth lab) (cut to various scenes of people getting shot and stuff) (cut to scene where WW dies) (cut to scene where family members see a stack of money on a table). Am I really missing anything?

Re:Breaking Bad (1)

Molochi (555357) | 1 year,10 hours | (#45000211)

TLDR, way better than Darth f'n Vader in Star Wars.

It's more of a cautionary tale. The main character is freed from a measure of fear of consequences by certain death and uses his chemist knowledge to make a quick buck to pay the bills. But it turns out, being really smart makes him quite good at being a badguy. Being masterful at something is seductive and he slides into the evil while justifying his actions, always viewing himself as the hero. But in the end he realizes the truth.
 

Re:Breaking Bad (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45002015)

Nah, maybe add in the middle: "I'm your boss now, never forget who you ---!" then the guy gets shot mid-sentence and the sequence repeats with someone else. A dozen times or so. And a few dozen repetitions of 'OH CRAP WE'RE BUSTED DUMP EVERYTHING' in steadily increasing levels of insanity too.

Who gives a fuck? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996811)

Seriously, marketing research groups could be gleaning this kind of data from Slashdot too if they wanted to but no one gives a fuck. How much do people know about you from your Slashdot profile? Only as much as you let them know. Why are "social network" sites held up to a different standard?

Re:Who gives a fuck? (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996915)

Seriously, marketing research groups could be gleaning this kind of data from Slashdot too if they wanted to but no one gives a fuck. How much do people know about you from your Slashdot profile? Only as much as you let them know. Why are "social network" sites held up to a different standard?

Well, I suspect that I'm talking to a particularly belligerent wall here; but somebody else might read it: 'social' networks are explicitly and fundamentally, designed to produce profiles based both on what you provide and what people you have real-world connections with provide (eg. people who don't even have facebook accounts; but are still tagged and machine-visioned in the image libraries of people who do). Your Slashdot-type profile is probably more vulnerable to a clever analyst than casual inspection would suggest; but the value of information provided by 3rd parties on the system about you is overwhelmingly lower, leaving the question of how 'knowable' you are much more in your hands.

Also, of course, 'real name' policies are a fairly obvious attempt to both extirpate dupes and ACs (presumably because the quality of discussion is already low enough, and because uniques with attached data are worth more as eyeballs); but also quash pseudonyms in the process. Again, many pseudonyms are vulnerable to clever or sustained attack; but in casual use they allow the virtues of consistent 'characters' to emerge (Yeah, that guy, he impersonates a fungus on the internet. Fucked if I know...); but leaves it up to you whether to connect that to other parts of your life or not. Some people use pseudonyms; some use pseudonyms by preference but make little or no effort to hide who they are, some post under their real names, up to you.

**way** better than Nielsen's method (2)

globaljustin (574257) | 1 year,15 hours | (#44998837)

marketing research groups could be gleaning this kind of data

You have to understand...as of **right now** the overarching, decades old industry-standard is the Nielsen Ratings.

Avail yourself of the wikipedia page on it and you will be enlightened.

Ex: Nielsen's standard method is to have viewers in each room with a TV enter their presence on a remote and this is what **Billions** of dollars of ad revenue, the decisions to 'renew' ever single TV show we've ever love...

all of these vital decisions...Left to boneheaded Nielsen research that was obsolete when they thought it up in the Eisenhower administration!

Look, it really is so bad that virtually *anything* is an improvement. Facebook.com is for better or worse a great way to understand what their users (rapidly becoming more representative) watch on TV...and more importantly what they *want* to watch more of and are motivated to **seek out on their own**

Nielsen isn't even in this ballpark...they're swindlers pure and simple...not 'research' by any professional standard

if you've ever had a beloved show canceled flying in the face of all logic, just look up Nielsen's methods and cry alone for awhile...

Snapplization (2)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996845)

We can now look forward to even more product placements on TV, such as the carefully aimed Snapple cups on "America's Got Talent".

Re:Snapplization (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996987)

"America's Got Talent" is a giant advert in itself for Syco Enterprises ie. Simon Cowells productions, it just hasnt taken the FCC/ASA to wake up yet

Nielsen must be freaking out (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996861)

Nielsen must be freaking out as this is data that they can't get their hands on; as this data would include almost every form of viewing, pirate, hulu, Netlfix, traditional, etc.

But the data would not be terribly pure for two reasons. If a show like breaking bad(with a youngish audience) were to hire a team of social media gurus and create many incentives to blah blah about the show then they will generate far more buzz per viewer than say Murder She Wrote reruns will generate per viewer both due to the age of the viewers and assuming that Murder She Wrote isn't hiring a crack team of social media experts.

So where this will really blow up is when a crap show completely games social media and then drinks their own cool aid thinking their show is a social media hit. But I have never met an MBA who didn't like the taste of their own urine.

Re:Nielsen must be freaking out (1, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996919)

That was just the right length of post to say that Breaking Bad is even less worth watching than a Murder She Wrote re-run.

Re:Nielsen must be freaking out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 hours | (#44997163)

Breaking Bad is an excellent show. It's must watch TV. Breaking Bad is just a little bit below brilliant.

Re:Nielsen must be freaking out (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996961)

I'm honestly a bit surprised that Nielsen is still alive. They are the landline-polling of TV audience metrics. On the pure TV/content industry hell side, you've got things like Tivos and cable boxes, which tend not to leave HQ guessing about who is watching what(Remember Tivo's casual little announcement that 'nipplegate' was the most rewound event in history? What've you got, Nielsen?) On the internet side, you've got your assorted 'social' gatekeepers and search jockeys, who pretty much see every word you type a few hundred milliseconds after you do, and are thus well placed to see who's talking about what.

Where does the exhaustive sample of 'Nielson households' fit in here?

Re:Nielsen must be freaking out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 hours | (#44997287)

Actually, the main reason Tivos and cable boxes aren't used as the gold standard in audience measurement is specifically because they leave HQ guessing about who's watching. They can report when they're on and what channel is being tuned to, but nothing more.

The national Nielsen panel gives minute by minute reporting (yes, including dvr'ed content) that also includes which member of the household was watching. All of this is recorded by machines connected inline with your tvs.

Set-top-boxes can help illuminate viewing trends, but their limitations introduce too much sample error (not to mention bias towards cable/satellite only homes) to be of much use.

Re:Nielsen must be freaking out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 hours | (#44997337)

Maybe things have changed, but when I was dealing with CATV companies ~10 years ago the decision makers on the advertising side were not even interested in hearing about change. They had their kingdoms, with lots of headcount, lots of money, and lots of power... so much so that they were more or less in a position to veto any technology that they perceived as a threat, be it IPTV, addressable advertising, or any metric other than Neilsen ratings for determining the value of ad time.

Re:Nielsen must be freaking out (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | 1 year,14 hours | (#44998995)

Nielsen must be freaking out as this is data that they can't get their hands on; as this data would include almost every form of viewing, pirate, hulu, Netlfix, traditional, etc.

Not really. Neilsen does live tracking because they're the most likely to watch the ads. PVR, Hulu, pirate, Netflix results don't really matter as they don't affect ad revenues. Neilsen is about ads.

Unless you're talking about a premium channel like HBO which gets all its revenue through subscription revenue, in which case alternate viewing could be important.

In fact, if Neilsen should worry, they need to verify their figures against real time Facebook and Twitter posts. In fact, the networks and such LOVE it when people post online about shows in real time when it airs. It's the only thing the networks have to combat "cord cutting" - imagine how people who download got through today because of everyone who watched the Breaking Bad finale were spoiling it everywhere.

That sort of peer pressure has resulted in more than a few cord cutters to get back on the teat - they just were so fed up of the delay between it airing and when they watch it that they gave up. (And we're only talking about hours here between airing and when the first torrents pop up - but generally that means you schedule the download to happen overnight and try to catch it the next day, at which point everyone else has talked about it. By the time you watch it that evening, you're a day late and everyone's onto the next show).

I never watched Breaking Bad until late August, and finished the penultimate episode the very Sunday morning. It was an awful few hours between the penultimate and finale.

Re:Nielsen must be freaking out (3, Interesting)

grahamm (8844) | 1 year,9 hours | (#45000519)

Why do networks love it when people comment online in realtime? if someone is sending tweets or posting on Facebook then the show is not holding their attention. Unless they are waiting for the ad breaks to post online, in which case they are not paying attention to the advertisers.

Not Scientific Sample (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996911)

Networks want people to watch their shows so those same people watch commercials. They want ratings from Nielsen so they have a well respected third party estimating the eyeballs each commercial gets to justify advertising rates. Facebook's report doesn't provide that.

Besides, this is clearly a self-selecting sample. There may be some tiny value to the networks in assessing popularity, but Nielsen Ratings will still remain king because they actually attempt to identify "C+3 ratings", the number of viewers who watch commercials within three days, via random sampling.

Spoiler Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996935)

Jesse Killed Laura Palmer, and the Island is a bizarre experiment being run by the grandchildren of the Swiss Family Robinson.

Better spoiler (1)

Molochi (555357) | 1 year,10 hours | (#45000227)

Hank builds a robot. It terminates his enemies.

Re:Better spoiler (1)

zlives (2009072) | 1 year,3 hours | (#45003859)

before they are born! maybe?

20 Minutes into the Future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996949)

...we will be running elections this way.

Does this account for FB thumbs-downs? (3, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996951)

The old saying is that if you had a good experience you'll tell one person but if you have a bad experience you'll tell ten. Does this system take the word "sucked" after the name of a program into account? Because if networks think that everyone's watching Stupid Sitcom because people have been talking about how inane the commercials make it out to be, they're missing the point. Nielsen monitors how many people change the channel, while going by Facebook results (by tally, not by content) doesn't represent those click-offs.

Not that I care if a network making a crappy show thinks it's hot shit or anything, but they could be giving more airtime to underrated good shows rather than putting more emphasis on lousy shows everyone's dissing on.

Re:Does this account for FB thumbs-downs? (1)

cmseagle (1195671) | 1 year,19 hours | (#44997293)

Presumably people who say a show sucked still watched the show, and for the purposes of advertising money that's all that matters. If they really do think the show sucked they'll stop watching and talking about it next week.

Re:Does this account for FB thumbs-downs? (1)

quantaman (517394) | 1 year,16 hours | (#44998383)

They might end up overrating shows like Honey BooBoo or Jersey Shore that end up as targets for mockery, but in general people just ignore shows they don't watch.

I think the risk with this system is they need a very good understanding of the show's demographic to understand the numbers since a lot of people post nothing about the shows they watch while others blab about everything.

They also need to understand why people are posting. People talked about Breaking Bad a lot because it was so good, and they also talked about Dexter because it got so bad. When good shows drop in quality hard core fans stick around but start to complain. So you could conceivably get an uptick in chatter that instead of signalling a rise in ratings actually precedes a drop in ratings.

Re:Does this account for FB thumbs-downs? (1)

rsborg (111459) | 1 year,12 hours | (#44999751)

They also need to understand why people are posting. People talked about Breaking Bad a lot because it was so good, and they also talked about Dexter because it got so bad. When good shows drop in quality hard core fans stick around but start to complain. So you could conceivably get an uptick in chatter that instead of signalling a rise in ratings actually precedes a drop in ratings.

Enter Sentiment Analysis [1]. Even a word-count analysis of positive/negative connotation words vs. a neutral sentiment control corpus could tell you with a reasonably high accuracy whether a show is being slagged or praised. And that's a simplistic guess of a prediction model from someone with a single machine learning course to brag about - nothing like using Google's prediction API.

[1] https://developers.google.com/prediction/docs/sentiment_analysis [google.com]

Re:Does this account for FB thumbs-downs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 hours | (#44999077)

Couple of points:
- Low interest rates, easy corporate debt, easy ad money
- Watching TV while posting on FB, reading email and chatting, so attention to ads? Either the person is a superhero or most likely tuned off to ads.

Wonder what the Bayesian model factors for attention deficiency or number of devices is? I would not invest in TV ads if they were commenting on other devices and vice versa.

About time. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 hours | (#44996971)

Privacy issues aside, this can only be a good thing. The Nielsen system has been responsible for the death of many a good show before its time.

Re:About time. (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | 1 year,8 hours | (#45000929)

... And resonsible for keeping a lot of worthless shows on. "Ninety percent of everything is crap," said Sturgeon.

Re:About time. (1)

zlives (2009072) | 1 year,3 hours | (#45003869)

public shaming... hmm i like where this is headed, i wonder how many people admit to liking certain reality shows?

Measuring everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#44997853)

They are measuring our country's every on-the-air networks every show which are also streaming online. Only way to fight against this Facebook Totalitarianism is to filter their scripts at the gate!

There is a problem with "viewership" (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | 1 year,17 hours | (#44998323)

Just because someone has a channel on doesn't mean they are watching it. Doesnt mean its not on mute. Someone could be taking a whiz, making dinner or any number of things. Does DVR recording count as "watching"? because if thats the case you can FF through all the commercials anyway. I dont know how television networks get so much money from advertisers when actual viewership is just, at best, a liberal estimate of how many people are actually watching anything at all.

Re:There is a problem with "viewership" (1)

Molochi (555357) | 1 year,10 hours | (#45000307)

I would hope DVRs count for something for a basic cable tv show, They are paying for cable vs free broadcast. I missed the Sunday show at Brewvies in SLC and watched on Xfinity.comcast.net in the morning before work.

Hitler Parodies (1)

Simploid (1649955) | 1 year,16 hours | (#44998517)

I wonder how smart the analytics are.

This might make Downfall (Der Untergang) and Hitler the most popular movie and character of all time!! The horors

Calculating engagement (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 hours | (#44999111)

So, the less people post about the show on FB, the more engaged they are in it?

hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 hours | (#44999667)

sounds pretty trivial to game the system, now that they've admitted that. I mean I could talk about all kinds of shows I don't watch or care about, just because some people I know do. it'll be fun ^_^

Dont use them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45006893)

Facebook is so obviously not concerned about you or your privacy, so I suggest you simply not use it for anything.

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