Media brands still learning on Facebook

22 May 2012

NEW YORK: Companies in the print, TV and music industries are taking a diverse approach to leveraging Facebook, the social network, as uncertainty remains about the benefits it could offer.

Sports Illustrated, the magazine owned by Time Warner, is considering how best to use Facebook, although it does not expect to deliver its content through the site in the foreseeable future.

"We're exploring ways to implement Facebook sharing in ways that make sense for us. Ideally we want it to benefit our properties," Paul Fichtenbaum, editor in chief of, the title's website, told Adweek.

The Daily Beast, part of IAC and allied to Newsweek magazine, employs Facebook's "Open Graph" tools that automatically "share" which articles the social network's members are reading on its pages, but is not seeking further integration.

"It became apparent that a domain integration is a better way to go than an app on Facebook," Daniel Blackman, The Daily's Best's chief digital officer, said."That should have a much better impact on traffic than a social reading app that keeps people in Facebook."

Ashley Wells, vp, creative development at news provider, suggested Facebook's removal of the "Activity Feed" box, which showed what material users had read, and reduced the importance of "news sharing".

"Facebook doesn't want to flood people. The irritation factor played into these decisions," said Wells. "We've seen these changes affect referrals. If you book revenue against that traffic, you're in trouble."

Many innovative players in the music sector have been more enthusiastic, with Pandora, the online radio pioneer, and Spotify, the streaming services, establishing formal tie-ups with Facebook., the video platform run by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music, has seen traffic rise by 144% after it began using the Open Graph. Moreover, Vevo manages ad sales for artists on Facebook, which does not take a share of revenues.

"That helps us become one-stop shopping for brands, who can check off the video and the social box," David Kohl, Vevo's evp, sales and customer operations, said.

Turning to broadcasters, Hulu, a joint venture from NBC, Fox and Disney, was an early adopter of a Facebook viewing app and the Open Graph, but it started redirecting members to its own website last month.

Elsewhere, NBC, The CW and Fox have not built branded viewing apps for Facebook, and ABC has never allowed shows to be streamed on the site.

CBS, by contrast, enables Facebook visitors to watch full episodes of programmes such as The Big Bang Theory, although only through an embedded version of its branded player, rather than an app.

Looking to film, Warner Bros, the movie studio, currently has 14 titles available to stream through Facebook for $3, but its activity has not grown dramatically since it launched this service.

Data sourced from Adweek; additional content by Warc staff