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.
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Image Source: flickr user BrentDPayne