Facebook Takes on TV
Market research firm Informa Telecoms & Media held a survey in 2012 about the future of television. In that survey, 20 percent of respondents said that the services with the best position for creating a paid content model are social networks like Facebook. Only 16 percent said that network operators themselves would have an advantage [source: ipTV News].
Why is Facebook in such a good position? Part of it has to do with the way people tend to watch TV. Many people use social networking to post about their choices in entertainment. It's not unusual to find people whipping out a smartphone, tablet or computer to update a status to include comments about the content on television. Perhaps by incorporating this experience directly into social networking, content providers will encourage viewers to tune in on a regular basis.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Facebook would make a move to become the new model for content distribution. It may instead mean that content providers will create apps that let people access content through the social network. In this model, Facebook remains a platform but doesn't actively push content to people. Instead, Facebook would be like a television and the apps would act more like channels.
Pricing is up in the air at this point. It may be a subscription-based service like Netflix, which lets you consume all the content you like for a flat fee each month. Or it may be a pay-as-you-go approach where you buy a viewing of each show or movie as you watch them. It's even possible that content will be supported by advertising with no direct charge to the user.
Whatever the model, it's probably just a matter of time before Facebook becomes a major hub for social interactions around television and movies. Before long, you may be discovering a new favorite television series thanks to a timely status update from one of your friends. Or perhaps you'll be joining the hundreds of other people who ridicule me for watching movies like "Battle Beyond the Stars."