Facebook will soon offer content from the UK’s Channel Five TV network. Viewers based in the region will be able to watch the network’s programming through an embedded player on their Facebook page, making Five the first broadcaster to offer a wide range of on-demand TV programming through the dominant social network.
Five is a relatively new (established in 1997) and progressive network that currently funnels their video content through Demand FIVE, a Web site and online video player that offers free and paid downloads for rental or purchase. This is the same player they will use to offer content through Facebook, though it seems all programming will be free (at least to begin with). According to the site, “Demand Five is all about giving you the choice to watch telly when you want to, not according to rigid schedules.”
Just as CBS now offers the “Watch & Chat” functionality on their site, it’s easy to imagine how TV viewing could become much more social when it literally takes place on Facebook. Revenue could come from traditional video advertising through the player, social gaming tied to programming, contests and more. Imagine video downloads that users pay for with the Facebook Credits they’ve earned on FarmVille?
Will we soon be logging into Facebook to catch up on our favorite TV shows? Do you think the social network will become a viable competitor to Hulu and YouTube, or will the existing broadcast content partnerships prevent that from happening?