Facebook Lays Claim to Twitter’s Live TV Territory

Social media giant cites new research demonstrating users comment on TV shows while they air

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In their battle for advertising dollars, Facebook and Twitter have taken positions in the marketplace to differentiate themselves. Facebook boasted of its massive scale, for instance, while Twitter was the social-media tool TV fans used to discuss programming while they watched.

Well, now Facebook wants to be known as the home for real-time TV chatter, too.

A recently announced partnership between Facebook and research firm SecondSync has yielded a new study finding that 60% of Facebook interactions about TV shows occurred while they aired. The study is Facebook’s first to examine social TV data across multiple countries: U.S., United Kingdom and Australia.

SecondSync also noted that the number of Facebook users posting, commenting, sharing and clicking on “Likes” relevant to select TV shows while they aired could comprise nearly a quarter of the total viewing audience.

Facebook has sung a different tune in the past, positioning itself more broadly than merely a platform for real-time engagement. “We’re not looking for someone with their laptop open while the show is on,” a Facebook exec told Variety in late 2012. “We think the industry is blinded by the ‘during’; Facebook is much broader than that.”

The move to closely associate itself with the live TV Twitter has made its specialty comes as the Facebook rival has drawn praise for ad revenue growth, which reached $242.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.