Facebook fights back in battle with Twitter for second screen dominance

Facebook: lays out its plans for the social TV
Facebook: lays out its plans for the social TV

The biggest battle in social media at the moment is being waged on TV, as Facebook and Twitter fight to dominate the market.

Arguably Twitter is miles ahead in this battle and it has made the second screen a major priority as we saw recently with its acquisition of social TV analytics firm Bluefin Labs.

Twitter will be able to use the data Bluefin digs out to sell to agencies and brands looking for insight in how they are performing in social media.

It will also be able to forge a deeper relationship with TV firms looking to see what shows perform well in social media.

For many, Twitter and its hashtags go together like English and cricket. Whether it is 'X Factor', 'Question Time' or football on a Saturday you might get the impression that there is only one social network when it comes to TV.

It is also much better at sharing its data with journalists to push that message. Facebook just doesn’t do this, but now that network too wants to remind people that it has a stake in the screen.

Dan Rose, who runs media partnerships for Facebook, released some stats while speaking at the All Things D media conference in Laguna Niguel, California. His data highlighted how Facebook performed during the Super Bowl, which Rose said, generated 54 million mentions on the site.

That compares against 24.1 million tweets related to the Super Bowl and the millions that came before and after.

To many it looks as though Facebook faces a tough battle against Twitter's creeping TV dominance. For instance around half of the ads that ran during the Super Bowl included a Twitter hashtag. Oreo also sparked a big win for Twitter when it showed how the site could function as an advertising front during a real-time moment, when the confectionary brand's quick response created one of the most talked about ad moments of the Super Bowl.

However, Rose argued that Facebook doesn't just have its social network, but Instagram too. The service is also becoming a second screen platform for TV viewers, as illustrated by the 600,000 Instagram photos taken with the hashtag #nemo during last week's storm on the east coast of the US.

Rose also hinted at Facebook's future for social TV, pointing out that many viewers chose what to watch based on their friends' recommendations.

"The reality is that most of us choose to watch [TV] based on shows friends told us about," he said. "Imagine where you turn on your TV or a second screen and what you’re seeing is the feed of shows all of your friends have watched and how they have rated those shows in order to make viewing decisions. That's a vision that we think is really exciting."

Facebook isn't a platform for TV consumption he said, but, "We think we can play a role in discovery."

However, Rose gave no indication how far it is away from that vision of social TV discovery. He confirmed the social network had talked to people such as satellite TV firm Dish Network, but gave no more details.

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