Social TV: American Idol Cuts Deals with Google and Facebook - Not Twitter

written by: Richard Kastelein

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americanidolFremantleMedia, 19 Entertainment/CORE Media Group and FOX today announced groundbreaking partnerships with search powerhouse Google and online social networking giant Facebook, designed to give fans powerful new interactive on-air and online experiences with AMERICAN IDOL XIII live shows.

For the first time in television, Google is powering an online voting platform that allows fans to cast votes for their favorite AMERICAN IDOL XIII finalists directly from Google Search. In addition, Facebook will support visual, on-air voting progress updates based on real-time East Coast voting data during select live shows, giving at-home AMERICAN IDOL XIII viewers their first-ever look at how their favorite finalists are faring in the voting polls at a given time.
“Throughout the previous 12 seasons, AMERICAN IDOL has always been a pioneer in interactive and voting innovation,” said David Luner, President, Brand Partnerships & Franchise Management, FremantleMedia North America. “Partnering with both Google and Facebook, two of the biggest names in technology and social media, demonstrates how the show is once again creating a global first, connecting with fans unlike any other entertainment brand in the world.”
“This season of AMERICAN IDOL is all about re-connecting fans with what they love most about the show – the journey of the contestants from hopefuls to stardom,” said Bill Bradford, SVP Digital, Fox Broadcasting Company. “With the help of innovators like Google and Facebook, this season, we’re deepening that connection by making it easy for fans to make a bigger impact and be a bigger part of the show than ever before.”
“We’ve partnered with AMERICAN IDOL to make it easy and convenient for fans to vote for their favorite IDOL performers using Google Search – whether they’re on their computers, phones or tablets,” said Anjali Joshi, VP, Product Management, Google Search.
“People come to Google to find information, and we’re excited to now also power their voting experience.”
“Integrating content from Facebook into AMERICAN IDOL’s live broadcast brings a new dimension to the viewing experience and enhances the connection fans have with the show and its contestants. With nearly 11 million fans of AMERICAN IDOL on Facebook, and all of the conversations people are already having on Facebook around live television events, there is an endless amount of creative potential through our partnership. We’re very much looking forward to seeing that creativity come to life on and off Facebook throughout this season,” said Justin Osofsky, VP of Media Partnerships and Global Operations, Facebook.

Beginning with the first finalist performance show on Wednesday, Feb. 26 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape delayed), fans will be able to vote via Google when the IDOL vote window opens at the top of the show – and every live performance show thereafter – by searching for IDOL-related terms. Any of these searches will reveal a voting platform where fans can cast their votes for their favorite performers.

After casting their votes, fans will have the opportunity to share their votes on Google+, follow contestants, join community conversations or participate in Google Hangouts about the show. With the addition of Google, AMERICAN IDOL XIII now offers viewers an unprecedented five ways to vote:

  • 1) Google Search
  • 2) online at AmericanIdol.com
  • 3) AMERICAN IDOL App
  • 4) text messaging
  • 5) toll-free calling

All five methods of voting are managed and certified by Telescope, Inc., an independent vote management company.

On air, AMERICAN IDOL XIII and Facebook are collaborating to provide a groundbreaking, real-time view of East Coast voting trends and create a two-way connection with fans during the live performance shows. The innovation will allow at-home viewers to get a first-ever look at an exciting array of voting information, such as demographic voting trends and relative contestant rankings – as it happens live! In addition, as voters and supporters of the AMERICAN IDOL XIII hopefuls chime in and back their favorite performer, they will have an opportunity to become part of the show – and see their actual Facebook profile picture featured in the telecast.

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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