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Facebook is an increasing force in the Social Web sphere, and becoming the digital identity hub for many millions of users.
The power of Facebook is twofold, it can both act as a centralised and a decentralised enabler for the Social TV, showing its diffusion on the Web and the potential for others to intertwine the social network in many other propositions.
What's the value and opportunity of both enablers for the TV industry and a conceptual Facebook TV?
With a centralised social enabler I refer to the opportunities of taking external (TV) content into Facebook and infusing the social network, the person and his/her friends with 'relevant' content.
The point of perspective is the person, enriching the profile/identity of that person with content that fits that person.
A growing potential of a centralised Facebook TV concept is sustained by three recent news topics on Facebook. First, the news that Amazon is opening a store inside Facebook (selling Pampers) which could be the next big opportunity for Facebook. It will also be a big opportunity for Social TV and new TV revenue streams. The "Shop Now" button can be just as good a "Watch Now" button, integrating TV channels in someone's profile.
From a monetisation point of view, it can trigger Social Commerce in a very direct manner, which could be an interesting option for TV networks to find these badly wanted alternative business- and revenue models.
Advertising Age reports on an interesting development within Facebook, namely that Facebook launches Facebook Groups, a solution to share information with particular people or groups based on their interests.
It will allows users to segment their friends, or form specialized networks within Facebook. This is important to be able to reach the interested people within Facebook, the ability to create sub-vertical mini networks around TV channels/content.
The most conceptual idea is based on the alleged news that Facebook is building it's own phone which we reported on previously on AppMarket.tv. Hardware that supports the very idea of a Facebook fundament with a television set is according to the alleged phone idea.
A Facebook-proof television set that doesn't have to think about creating social applications to surround the TV content, but vice versa, creating TV-content applications that infuse the profile. The biggest difference with the first mentioned point is the allignment with the television set instead of a desktop/laptop version that is probably not customized for a big TV screen.
With a decentralised social enabler I refer to taking the opportunities of the social network, the person and his/her friends and infusing any (social) TV format with a 'relevant' audience.
The point of perspective is the content, enriching the content with a community that fits that content.
The decentralised version of a Facebook TV concept is the version that is already been deployed and researched by many companies. Think of all the Facebook Connect's integrated in concepts that make use of the present reach and emotional investments by the worldwide userbase of Facebook.
Integrating a well oiled social machine let companies focus much more on the content and less on the community. Interoperability also ignores the creation of own communities which will experience competitive challenges in terms of amount of users, amount of interaction and the fragmentation of someone's digital identity.
What will it be?
Tough question and dependant on many factors.
What is the starting point? One's identity or the content? For any TV content provider, one would think the latter, but in changing (co-creational) times, loyalty, trust and engagement is maybe created much more profound if people are taken as starting point and giving them the appropriate attention.
Either way, Facebook will play an important role in the evolution of connected and Social TV, bringing the best of two worlds together, a large global community and reach and any kind of content to it.