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In a bold move to try and reinvigorate Big Brother, a format that has been tanking over a decade of milking for Channel 4, has some industry insiders questioning whether it can be pumped back up, Channel 5 is to use Facebook as a voting platform for reality show Big Brother for the first time. It's one of the first real experimental journeys by a broadcaster to revitalize an older format using multiplatform engagement. And this is only good news for innovative 3rd party companies like MIG, The Application Store, Ex-Machina, Monterosa, Screach and Live Talkback who offer white label dual screen experiences for broadcasters and producers and could open up a significant new market pumping up older shows for them.
According to Jessica Davies at NMA, Facebook won’t be the only voting mechanism... but will be one of several on devices yet to be confirmed and Channel 5 also in talks with YouTube to extend the use of the platform beyond video content for Big Brother. Fans will be able to purchase votes using Facebook Credits to use on either their laptops or smartphones. Channel 5, which bought the rights to broadcast Big Brother after ten years at Channel 4, is yet to determine pricing.
Undoubtedly there are risks for all broadcasters that form tie-ups with third parties, particularly ones as powerful as Facebook. But all are aware that to meet the rising demand for social TV, they must collaborate in some shape or form. Channel 5 already took a risk when it bought Big Brother, a show which had been run to death for ten years on Channel 4, with audience numbers plummeting in its last few series.
It has also arguably made its bed when it comes to Facebook. It has embedded its TV catch-up player Demand 5 on the social network and remains the only broadcaster to have done so. It retains control of its video ads across its embedded player, while Facebook enjoys additional premium-quality broadcast content.
The broadcaster is working closely with Endemol, Facebook and mobile agency Mobile Interactive Group to develop a Facebook app that lets viewers vote for the contestants they want to leave the Big Brother house, using the social network’s Credits payment system - which is a significant shift from using telephony and SMS voting as has been done traditionally in the past. MIG’s mVoy Engage platform was also recently used for Sky’s Got to Dance iPhone App.
More from NMA:
Channel 5 is the first broadcaster to establish such a tie-up with Facebook, having embedded its TV catch-up player Demand 5 on the social network as part of its syndication strategy. This brought its entire catalogue of long-form content, including shows such as Home and Away, The Gadget Show and The Hotel Inspector, to the social network for the first time .