Facebook To Take Twitter Head-On Pitching TV Networks With User Action Data About Shows

When fun, interesting, or mindblowing (or unfortunately, often mind-numbing) things happen on TV, the chatter about it ramps up on Facebook and Twitter. Names, TV shows, and topics trend, and those analytics help media companies gauge engagement. The old Nielsen ratings system is what it is, but instantaneous, global social networking data--now that’s something else entirely.

In the head-to-head competition between Facebook and Twitter, Facebook is looking to get a step on its rival with the big four TV networks by giving them data reports about how many actions a given TV episode has generated on the social network. Thus, all of those likes, comments, and shares will be part of a mountain of data that NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC (and some others) will get from Facebook.

Facebook offering data to TV networks, competing against Twitter

No, the data will not be publicly available. Yes, it will be culled from both public and private activity. No, no personal information will be gleaned nor sent--it will be collected anonymously.

Facebook may also be a more accurate accounting of the public interest, or at least the networks may feel that way; CBS’ chief research officer David Poltrack told the Wall Street Journal that CBS has noticed a disproportionate amount of young female on users on Twitter, which can skew data on certain programs. Poltrack and CBS see Facebook as having a broader audience.

That remains to be seen, but perception equals reality, so Twitter may have a heck of a fight on its hands.