ABC's Dancing with the Stars has become the first TV show to significantly tap into Facebook's wealth of user data. A newly arranged deal between the social network and ABC will take effect during tonight's season 17 premiere, displaying real-time conversations and feedback related to the show live on air. And as Variety reports, the network will be able to dig into hyper-targeted data from a specific geographic area, demographic, age group, or gender — a step beyond what's possible with Twitter. To do so, it's being given access to the same two APIs that Facebook began sharing with news agencies earlier this month.
ABC gets invaluable user data during the show
The Public Feed API will let ABC view a real-time stream of public posts mentioning the show, or a specific cast member like Snooki or Bill Nye. The Keyword Insights API does things a bit differently, but may offer even more compelling stats for network execs. It aggregates posts across Facebook that mention a certain topic and presents a breakdown of anonymous data on the age, location, and gender of users. "We wanted to give our broadcast partners a better picture of what's going on," said Justin Osofsky, Facebook's VP of media partnerships, of the earlier rollout.
ABC will weigh using the tools with other shows depending on how its Dancing with the Stars experiment goes, and other networks are expected to implement these APIs in the near future. Facebook has been aggressive of late in an attempt to attract advertisers and key media partners. It's introduced hashtags, embedded posts, and trending topics to match much of what Twitter can provide, though the company envisions these APIs having an even greater impact on the programming you watch. Speaking to Variety, Facebook's Nick Grudin said, "As a producer sees that a particular storyline or contestant is driving a higher degree of conversation, especially around a particular demographic or region, that information could be used to pivot or adapt storylines over time."