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Facebook targets broadcasters with new TV tools

Facebook is taking aim at the TV industry with two new tools that will allow broadcasters to easily integrate conversations and data from the social network.

The Public Feed API will give broadcasters access to areal-time feed of public posts for a specific word. The Keyword Insights API aggregates the total number of posts that mention a specific term in a given time frame and will also allow partners to access anonymous, aggregated results based on gender, age and location.

“Starting today, selected news organisations can begin to integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about any given topic,” said Facebook.

The tools are initially being rolled out to a small group of “trusted media partners” that include Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, Sky, Slate, The Economist and Mass Relevance. However, Facebook said that it is beginning discussions with other media firms and marketers and will make them available to more partners in the coming weeks.

“Over the past few months, we have rolled out a series of products aimed at surfacing the public conversations happening on Facebook including hashtags, embedded posts, and trending topics,” said Facebook’s VP, media partnerships and online operations, Justin Osofsky.

“We are committed to building features that improve the experience of discovering and participating in conversations about things happening in the world right now, including entertainment, sports, politics and news.”

The move pits Facebook against Twitter, which has increasingly looked to tap into the opportunities presented by the TV industry. Last month Twitter acquired social TV analytics firm Trendrr and in February bought another social analytics firm, called Bluefin Labs, for a reported US$90 million. In December last year it also partnered with media measurement company Nielsen to create a ratings system based on the amount of Twitter conversation around TV shows.

Facebook said that between 88 and 100 million US Facebook users log-in during primetime TV viewing hours of 8pm and 11pm and that last week’s NFL season kickoff generated more than 20 million likes, comments, and shares on Facebook by some eight million people.