What TV Networks Can Learn From Facebook's Mistakes

There is another bit of mismanagement around Facebook data. We now have more calls for a lot more introspection, and reforms at the company -- as well as possible regulation. TV networks might want to keep a close eye on what happens.

On CNBC Wednesday, Guy Kawasaki, former Apple evangelist, brought up an idea for Facebook that has been bandied about quite a bit: start a separate paid service, ad-free, and in theory, one that forbids all third-party Facebook partners from sharing that consumer data.

Kawasaki says the problem with Facebook as a “free” platform -- which all consumers should have figured out by now -- is that it isn’t free.

For a long time, TV networks have known this dynamic. The medium makes money primarily by selling advertising. To our knowledge, it doesn’t (or can’t) share specific TV viewers data to anyone.



Personal consumer data is so important that Eric Hippeau, former CEO, HuffPost, said on CNBC that consumer data “is the new oil... You might be seeing a new oil cartel.”

Will there be an ongoing market for it?

While TV networks don’t play in this game, more of their content/programming is landing in the digital space. Will they be part of this in the future? Are they or their distribution partners -- traditional, virtual, or in-house owned -- learning any lessons from what Facebook is going through?

When it comes to consumer data, TV marketers say traditional media is behind independent digital media platforms, especially since it can connect with return-path sales or performance outcome data.

TV networks have convinced marketers that their media moves product and services. But they haven’t pointed to specific data to prove it on a regular basis.

But it is getting closer. Facebook has been criticized for allowing Netflix (and others) to see private emails of Facebook users -- Netflix is the same company that also makes programming deals with traditional TV/movie companies.

While Netflix knows a lot of what its consumers want via their screening history, adding in Facebook data deepens consumer research of those who aren’t Netflix users. There are 58 million U.S. Netflix subscribers; and 214 million U.S. Facebook monthly active users.

For its part, Facebook denies that it allowed Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft and Spotify to view its users' private messages without consumer consent.

Right now, big TV-based media companies don’t have a platform for private messages. There’s your good news.

2 comments about "What TV Networks Can Learn From Facebook's Mistakes".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 21, 2018 at 12:26 p.m.

    Wayne, an interesting piece. However, a couple of points. First, the TV networks didn't have to convince advertisers that TV works and they don't need to now---advertisers eagerly jumped in of their own volition and they have plenty of evidence---sales results and ad awarenss---to back that up. Very few branding advertisers need to know that Sally Zilch in West Podunk bought their brand, they get enough sales data, without attribution, to know how they are doing. Second, In an analysis we did for our upcoming "TV Dimensions 2019", we make it very clear that TV does not rely on ad dollars for its profits. That was never the case for cable but ceased being true for the broadcast TV networks and many TV stations a number of years ago. Currently non-ad incomes provide all of cable's profits and almost all of those garnered by broadcast TV.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 21, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.

    GRPR ! DO NOT TRACK ! GDPR ! That about sums it up.

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