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Summary:

Google headlines this week beg the question: Would Facebook ever pursue a three-screen strategy by offering up its own TV platform to users? The answer could be yes, as the TV screen seems too big a honeypot to ignore for a company that lives on advertising dollars.

facebooktv

This week, we saw a new Google TV offering from Logitech and there’s also indication the revamped Apple TV is selling at a brisk pace. This news has me asking the question, would Facebook ever go after the third screen in a more serious way than offering a simple widget? My feeling is yes; the TV screen seems too big a honeypot to ignore for a company that lives on advertising dollars.

All big brands in consumer tech have, at some point, made a play for the living room. In the chart below, I break down the players by their early, often failed, efforts, and their more evolved strategies to establish a beachhead on the TV screen. In my weekly update at GigaOM Pro, I evaluate three potential routes that Facebook could take to the living room:

1. The Evolved Widget Strategy. This is simply a more evolved widget/app effort than we’ve seen on the likes of FiOS, where Facebook allowed for more personalized video and entertainment offerings streamed from the person’s own Facebook network.

2. The Middle-Ground Strategy. This would mean a Facebook UI based on a dedicated app or in-browser on the screen. It would include Facebook-based video streams, subscription offerings, and limited advertising capabilities that would allow Facebook to monetize its huge installed base.

3. The Living Room Domination Strategy. This would involve an immersive Facebook UI/program guide offering a combination of streaming and possibly broadcast content, a true platform for applications and communication services, and perhaps even contextualized recommendations (think Facebook Likes for TV) for video entertainment. This would require significant content partner deals with some CE manufacturers and large media companies.

Will Facebook pursue one of these paths? I have no idea, but they have a half-billion accounts with which they could try to take to a third screen. As we’ve seen with both the company’s mobile and PC-web strategy, its growth strategy is based on extracting more value out of the market through adding features than can ultimately attract advertising revenue.  If Facebook were to make a TV play, it would need to be one that leveraged the highly personal nature of a person’s own social graph but also was optimized towards the ingrained viewing habits of the living room.

Tough to do, sure, but I’m willing to bet they give it the old college try.

Read the full post here.

Image Source: flickr user BrentDPayne

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  1. “What Would Facebook TV Look Like?”

    You’d and try to watch, but your choice would be automatically diverted to show;

    [image of buxom woman]“She just looked at ur wall. Wanna meet her?”

    …then

    [profile image of that person you always hated in high school]“John Smith has sent the 867th friend request to you. Add him?”

    …then

    [inappropriate profile image]Your friend just wrote “HEY D*CKHEAD, I JUST TAGGED YOU IN THIS PIC OF SOME NAKED DUDE I FOUND ON THE INTERNET!!! HA HA”

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    1. @Todd – yes, the possibilities of Facebook TV are endless :)

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  2. Uh… let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. How about waiting until after the Facebook IPO, definitively trump Google in social everything, and make a few successful web-based applications (mail, docs etc.) first.

    I do think Facebook is on the path to become a huge tech company but even suggesting they’d be able to compete with other consumer electronic companies today is completely ridiculous…

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    1. @Webomatica – who says they’ll compete with CE companies? I certainly don’t. I think they’d be a much sought-after partner for CE companies, and I don’t think they’ll ever try to do hardware. It’d be a partner-play for them all the way.

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  3. What about the issue around dual-login/access for multiple accounts, see my brief blog post on the topic: http://pistol.tumblr.com/post/1288505597/dual-login-for-tv-widgets

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  4. Arnold Waldstein Monday, October 11, 2010

    Michael…

    Two things make me believe you could be right in your assumption:

    1. Every since the Facebook channel (corporate boring web-cam like news updates) became available to everyone on Facebook, the core physical and psychological plumbing for Facebook to be a TV network was clear. Basically this is Facebook WebTV on a number of screens already.

    2. Facebook defined social on the web and in order for connected TV to be a social reality, one that drives recommendation engines, sharing and the like, it will require a pureplay social network at its core, not some bolted on social strata like Google or even Apple is trying. If it can be done (and I’m a believer) Facebook is the logical choice.

    They ‘are’ our definition of social. They have the world’s population. They have unlimited access to resources. And they are moving to the big screen anyway with connected TV.

    Thanks for this. I touched on some of this in a recent post about Facebook and Skype…”Facebook and Skype…bringing community and communications together” @ http://bt.io/G8pO

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  5. [...] What would Facebook TV look like ‹Previous Post The Map of Online Communities [...]

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  6. There’s a good case to be made for living room domination because FaceBook does such a good job of targeting ads.

    Ultimately well-targeted ads will result in higher ad revenues thereby enabling FaceBook to pay an attractive price for content. Also, when viewers click-though the ads and complete a call-to-action, FaceBook can justify earning a bounty. Calls-to-action could range from an online purchase of merchandise to the completion of a lead-generation form.

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  7. Hi Michael,

    Nice post here. I think a key advantage that FB has is an already strong presence on mobile phones, which are a rapidly growing video platform.

    I wrote up a very similar post at http://www.reelseo.com/facebook-tv/ several months ago, focusing more heavily on how the platform could help content owners grow (legitimate) viewership and capture more revenue from their content online.

    Nathan

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