American Idol Cozies Up to Facebook and Google
Facebook and Google certainly have their share of devoted users among the stars of Tinseltown and other pop culture entertainment, but that may not be enough to beat Twitter at its own game. The two companies signed a widespread agreement with Fox and the producers of American Idol last week to integrate more social activity into the struggling show that was once a ratings juggernaut.
The opening for Facebook and Google came soon after AT&T bailed out of a lucrative sponsorship deal that lasted 12 seasons. As fans of the show have increasingly shunned voting via text message in favor of online polling, AT&T's role and importance for the show waned to the point where it decided it best to move its massive advertising budget elsewhere.
While it may not do much to help improve ratings or lift the financial performance of the show, the deal puts Google and Facebook in a new light for the second screen with each serving new roles for the first time in such a capacity.
For its part, Facebook is powering real-time updates on the progress of votes for contestants. Facebook will provide updates on its site and support the show with on-air visuals that depict voting progress during select live shows. In a first for the show, viewers will be able to see how many votes finalists are receiving in real-time.
"Integrating content from Facebook into American Idol's live broadcast brings a new dimension to the viewing experience and enhances the connection fans have with the show and its contestants. With nearly 11 million fans of American Idol of Facebook, and all of the conversations people are already having on Facebook around live television events, there is an endless amount of creative potential through our partnership. We're very much looking forward to seeing that creativity come to life on and off Facebook throughout this season," Justin Osofsky, vice president of media partnerships and global operations at Facebook, said in a prepared statement.
While Facebook is adding a new data layer that provides insight into the voting as it happens, Google is actually powering the platform for online voting. In another first for Google, fans of the show can now cast votes for finalists directly from Google Search using the keywords "American Idol," "idol" or "American Idol voting."
Once fans log in to a Google account to cast their votes they are given the option to participate in Google Hangouts about the show, share those votes and follow contestants on Google+. Viewers can also still cast votes on AmericanIdol.com, the mobile app, via text message or toll-free calling.
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