Facebook unveils new partners, media apps


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg introduced a new class of apps and media/content partners 9/22 at its F8 Developers Conference that will allow viewing and sharing of content on its social platform. They include Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio, Spotify, MOG, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, DirecTV, Dailymotion, Flixster and iMDB. Note that Pandora was not one of them—and as we said with yesterday’s Pandora site design, they were smart to allow reverse integration with Facebook.

The apps will allow its users to see which songs, movies, TV shows and games are being consumed by friends and to sample that content as part of a redesigned Facebook page layout. Content can be discovered both in a new Facebook section known as “The Ticker,” providing a real-time rundown of friends’ consumption habits and more selectively in the news feed (currently part of everyone’s Facebook experience). Zuckerberg emphasized that the new feature would allow for more discovery of content in a way that could reshape the media business.

An updated “Open Graph” that integrates online radio services into the platform was also unveiled. Emmis and Jelli, for example, are partnering to offer five Emmis terrestrial and online stations with Facebook’s new music platform: Hot 97 in NYC (also online Hot-97-branded sub-formats); Power 106 in LA and ‘RXP (its former Alternative/Indie WRXP NYC–now FM News 101.9).

“This next wave of companies understands if you can help people discover an order of magnitude of content than they could before, that enables all kinds of new models to work,” said Zuckerberg, who mentioned both advertising and subscription models. “These new companies aren’t just rethinking the experience of watching new content with your friends, they’re helping to rethink these entire industries.”

Zuckerberg was joined on stage by Netflix founder Reed Hastings, who is also a Facebook board member.

He also unveiled an entirely new profile design called “Timeline.” Timeline will make Facebook’s profile page a historical record of sorts of what has been shared by a user and deemed most important by that user, he said: “We often talk about the profile at Facebook as what you talk with someone about during the first five minutes of talking with someone. If the original profile was the first five minutes of a conversation, the stream was the first 15, now I want to show you the rest.”

Timeline has been a project of Facebook’s for about a year. “Timeline is the story of your life, and it has three pieces, all your stories, all your apps, in a new way to express who you are,” he added

The new design has a horizontal picture up top, called the “cover photo,” that users can choose to show what they’re interested in or passionate about. The profile picture sits below that.

RBR-TVBR observation: We wonder if Facebook is going to start affecting media industries the way Microsoft affected software developers. If you are not onboard, you may be driven out of business. Social Media is obviously a new pivot point for boosting revenues in just about any business, but now media and audio and/or media apps is near the top of the list. Having iHeartRadio as a partner (and Pandora not) will be a real litmus test for how powerful Facebook really is.