Big Brother returned to our TV screens last night, which meant only one thing for me: television off. It’s now harder than ever to escape BB fever as it’s all over the internet; 1,000s of dedicated blogs and sites, status updates polluting my Facebook news feed and trending all over Twitter. But I’m not here to rant about my dislike for BB, because there is one thing that has caught my eye with this year’s show – Facebook Voting.
On the 1st July, Endemol (the creators of Big Brother) announced that with immediate effect, viewers of the popular show in Germany would now be able to take their vote to Facebook by installing a bespoke app. Previously, followers of the show would vote for the contestant that they would like to see leave the house by phone or SMS text. Endemol developed the app with Plazz Entertainment AG and it is one of the first voting applications in the world to integrate Facebook credits.
Dr Georg Ramme, Head of Commercial at Endemol Germany said: “The Facebook voting app is designed for a generation of fans who have grown up with social media, regularly chat about reality TV on Facebook and comment on events in these programmes. It is this usage of social media that made us decide to expand online offers for our popular TV programmes.”
Channel 5 have confirmed that this voting format has now been rolled out to the UK version. However, this is just one part of their overall social media strategy for the TV show. They plan to fully integrate social networks into the viewers’ experience, from real-time news and video updates on Facebook, the first ever Big Brother Twitter feed and they are also in talks with YouTube about extending their offering on this platform too.
Endemol and Channel 5 are pioneers in bringing the experience of television and social media even closer together. I’m excited to see how this pans out for the rest of 2011 – watch this space as I expect an announcement about a similar Facebook voting mechanic for the new series of X-factor.