Thursday, July 12, 2012
NBC and Facebook to Announce Olympics Partnership
Users of Facebook will be reminded about NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games in London. And viewers of NBC’s coverage, at the same time, will be nudged to talk about the Games on Facebook.
The virtuous circle is part of a collaboration, to be announced Wednesday, between NBCUniversal’s NBC Olympics division and Facebook, the social networking Web site.
Data from Facebook will inform television coverage on NBC and on the other channels that will carry portions of the Summer Games starting on July 27. The specific uses will vary, but there will be a “Facebook Talk Meter” occasionally shown on TV to reflect what is being said online.
“We know that a social conversation will surround the Olympics,” said Gary Zenkel, the president of NBC Olympics. The work with Facebook, he added, is part of the division’s plan to listen and to talk back.
The connections between television and social media have come a long way since 2008, when the world last gathered for a Summer Olympics. Then, Facebook had 100 million users; now, it is said to have 900 million. In the intervening years, the notion of a “second screen” — the TV being the first, the computer or phone being the second — has been commercialized; it’s normal now for TV shows to encourage viewers to chat online about the show while watching it.
Even without encouragement, some viewers are sure to be doing it anyway as the two mediums, TV and the Web, continue to inch closer and closer.