Facebook’s courtship of live television took a couple steps forward this week as NBC’s “Today Show” and Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws” rolled out features tied to the social network’s media APIs.
This morning the “Today Show” debuted a real-time trending-on-Facebook screen, said to be the first use of Facebook’s Trending API. Last night, on the season premier of “Street Outlaws,” viewers were able to vote for their favorite street-racing team using the Hashtag Counter.
Both of the features were developed by Spredfast, one of the partners that Facebook tabbed to work to integrate the four new APIs — Topic Insights and Topic Feed are the other two — which were first announced at the F8 conference in April.
The APIs are a leading edge of Facebook’s strategy to tap the real-time conversion of the 1.28 billion users on its network. Because much of that conversation is private and friend-to-friend, it’s been difficult for broadcasters to make use of it. And that usually has meant that Twitter with its more open network is the default source for television shows that want to dig into social media discussions.
Now Facebook can compete better. As demonstrated by Carson Daly on the Today Show, NBC is able to quickly discover and display Facebook user’s public comments on trending stories.
And a reality show like “Street Outlaws” can take the instant pulse of its audience using the Hashtag Counter API and display the results quickly.