Michael Grotticelli /
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
New plug-ins allow broadcasters to interact with Facebook users

Facebook last week expanded its “Facebook Connect” platform to allow third-party websites — including broadcast networks and media outlets — to be built into its pages via social plug-ins.

CNN, ESPN, USA Network and the NHL are among early companies to use the new feature. CNN, which has partnered with Facebook on a number of occasions for live events like President Obama’s inauguration, will integrate the plug-in globally across CNN.com and CNNMoney.com. Users will have multiple ways to comment, recommend and share CNN.com articles, as well as see which articles their Facebook friends recommend.

The plug-ins allow Facebook users to share media that interests them, turning that media into a form of social currency that’s exchanged between friends. KC Estenson, senior VP and general manager of CNN.com, said CNN hopes the social plug-ins will make his brand more personally relevant to Facebook users.

ESPN integrated the features across ESPN.com, launching during the NFL Draft last Thursday. Facebook users who checked out the NFL DraftCast on ESPN.com were able to “like” players and teams, and send that information to their friends.

The National Hockey League also initiated the social plug-ins feature on NHL.com, allowing users to “like” and share content from the site with their friends. The move was part of the league’s “Hockey Marketplace” syndication strategy, which seeks to expand its presence on third-party sites.

USA Network integrated the feature into its sites and is launching a new game on its online gaming site Charactersarcade.com, designed to take advantage of the new Facebook features.

“By integrating Facebook’s new tools that drive social, personalized experiences, we’re offering consumers the kind of interaction, power and connectivity they crave,” said Jesse Redniss, vice president of digital technology at USA Network.

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