Viacom, Facebook push social as critical tool for broadcasters

From left to right: Kym Niblock, TVNZ; Joanna Wells, Viacom International Media Networks; Carlos Sanchez, Kantar Media; Daniel Danker, Facebook; and Nick Dandy, Foxtel

AMSTERDAM—A panel featuring execs from Viacom and Facebook Thursday at IBC outlined the opportunities and benefits across social media for broadcasters and programmers.

The conversation was led by Kym Niblock, chief product and information officer at TVNZ, and featured Joanna Wells, vice president of Comedy Central and MTV International at Viacom International Media Networks; Carlos Sanchez, global director of social TV at Kantar Media; Daniel Danker, product director at Facebook; and Nick Dandy, director of product management at Foxtel.

The group spent much of the time onstage highlighting specific examples of how they had been using social media to streamline processes, drive more audience engagement and promote discovery.

Wells said that social channels for Viacom international networks including Comedy Central and MTV have all experience substantial year-over-year growth. In addition, she said that Snapchat has provided a more nimble means of testing and developing new shows and talent for Viacom. She said it’s easier and more cost-effective than the often six-month pilot process.

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Dandy detailed the expansive social media campaign Foxtel launched around its popular prison drama “Wentworth.” The campaign included short-form video across Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter as well as things like a chatbot for fans to connect with and an interrogation room-style Q&A series on Facebook Live. He said that for Foxtel, content discovery is one of the biggest benefits it sees from social media as people find out about and get recommendations for shows from their friends and family.

Danker added to that, noting that 40% of video viewing on Facebook comes from sharing rather than the original posting, which he said illustrates the capability of communities to help spread content.

Through Kantar’s data, Sanchez was able to show many of the direct correlations between successful content and social media. Kantar numbers show that the most popular shows also had the most Twitter activity, while at the same time, Twitter had a positive ratings effect for shows.