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Facebook courts ad dollars with social data on TV shows

Facebook will share data with the four major US television networks in hopes of attracting more advertising dollars, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Facebook is making a move on television networks.

The social network on Monday will start providing new data to the four largest US television networks -- CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC -- in an attempt to attract more advertising dollars to its service, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Facebook officials. The social network will also provide its data to a precious few other television partners.

CNET is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.

The data Facebook will share will revolve around "actions" that users take on the site, including likes, comments, and shares related to a particular television episode, according to the Journal. Data will be gathered from all posts, including private ones, but Facebook said data will be collected anonymously and shown in aggregate to protect users' privacy, according to the report.

Facebook isn't alone in its desire to attract more television advertisers. Twitter has been making significant inroads into that space over the last year, and has provided data to networks to show how their shows and ratings are being impacted by tweets.

Twitter's efforts were bolstered last month when Nielsen revealed that there's a direct causation between Twitter usage and TV ratings. The company found that 29 percent of the 221 shows it analyzed showed "statistically significant changes" in live ratings because of a heavier volume of tweets. Conversely, 48 percent of the episodes it evaluated showed a similar "significant" impact on tweets when a show was particularly popular.

Facebook, of course, believes that actions taken on its own site similarly impact ratings. The latest data dump could help the company prove that. In the future, Facebook plans to add more data, including how many people saw a particular activity related to a show, the Journal said.