American Idol and X-Factor Finally Figure Out Facebook. Twitter Next?

written by: Richard Kastelein

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On the cusp of the news that X-Factor is FINALLY implementing Facebook voting for its contestants, American Idol jumped on the bandwagon and also announced plans to do the same. All we can say at is, "... It's about time!" Including Facebook and Twitter in the voting architecture is a no-brainer on a number of levels in terms of Socialising TV. From pre-selection to well past production, the life cycle of each series can literally be tripled if played right, using both social elements and even more game mechanics in the fray, as we wrote about in Social TV - Blue Ocean Strategy:

So for broadcasters to thrive on new Social TV models it has to produce formats that are engaging to consumers and valuable to advertisers – with elements of gaming mechanics (competition), prize offers (awards, rewards) and participation (voting, influence). It's imperative to start thinking about TV story telling in a different way – social stories that can be consumed and shared, joined and influenced – on mobile devices, on the Big Screen – or in parallel.

With a story that goes well beyond the TV show itself…before, during and after.

The key lies in great stories people can relate to, engage with and become a part of. To turn 'Must see TV' into 'Must Join TV'. With carefully built-in social triggers for people to join, engage, contribute and feel involved. Opening them up for commerce as Disney Corpdoes so well.

Cory Bergman over at Lost Remote is also wondering why it took so long:

It's amazing that it's taken this long for Idol to add online voting, and doing it through Facebook makes tremendous sense. The act of voting becomes an act of social promotion, which the show needs now more than ever as viewership slides and a big new competitor, X-Factor, comes on the scene. And increasingly, established social platforms are becoming the backbone of a new approach to interactive TV. So far, there's no word of Twitter's involvement with either show, which would also make a lot of sense. Viewers could tweet hashtags, for example, to vote for contestants.

Idol creator Simon Fuller told CNN:

"We have been wanting to do online voting for several years, and now Facebook has offered us a secure solution and we are ready to go."

Audiences will still be able to vote with their phones, which is a key revenue source with SMS voting.

And apparently Facebook users will be able to go to a designated site to cast their votes up to 50 times during the designated voting period, according to EW, and the higher-ups at Idol are very excited to introduce online voting to the process.


About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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