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Fox leveraged social media for buzz by premiering new show on Facbeook Live

Fox has been tapping into the power of social media and the increasing popularity of social video by premiering its horror show, Outcast, on Facebook simultaneously with its TV debut.

As the proprietor of a wide variety of media and entertainment outlets, Fox Networks Group, or FNG, is in the business of getting its programming in front of as many people as possible. The company has been leveraging social media and social video to realize that goal.

"Releasing the show before the linear premiere on FB Live gave FOX a chance to position itself as being an innovative broadcaster by bringing the TV to where the viewers are,? said Jennifer Fildes, senior planner of global research and audience strategy at Fox.

Facebook Live
As live TV viewership has dwindled over the years, especially in the face of rising streaming services and digital video, traditional TV networks have a lot of catching up to do.

FNG is tackling that problem through the use of social media, particularly Facebook Live.

One of the company?s newest and most critically acclaimed shows is Outcast, based on the comic book by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. As the premiere data approached, FNG was wary of the slumping numbers for live TV through traditional cable.

To offset this, FNG took a novel approach. In addition to premiering on TV, the first episode was also streamed live through Facebook Live.

Facebook users were able to see the episode around the world a full two weeks before it premiered on TV.

Some comments from Fox's Facebook feed

FNG also shifted its marketing strategy to lean more heavily on Facebook and social media, in an effort to raise awareness about its Facebook presence and to drive engagement with the brand on social media.

The results were encouraging. FNG saw a 250 percent increase in interactions between consumers and Fox-owned Facebook pages.

The network also saw a 320 percent increase in positive sentiment and brand awareness on its Fox UK Facebook page.

Data harvest
Live streaming has been a powerful tool for brands that want to provide their customers with a sense of immediacy. Immediacy is vital to a brand's digital message, as Snapchat has shown in its ability to create highly in-tune users (see story).

Facebook Live in particular has been a boon for marketers, as has been shown with the increased engagement that gave a huge boost to publishers who streamed election results through Facebook's live video platform (see story).

In addition to these boosts in brand interaction with consumers, FNG was also able to harvest a significant amount of data from the event, including where its users came from, what they were interested in and their watching behavior.

Other Fox Facebook broadcasts have been successful as well

This data can be used for future programming and marketing decisions, particularly if FNG decided to continue the tradition, as it likely will, by hosting future premieres on Facebook Live or other social video streams before the TV premiere date. 

FNG also used the data to better understand its audience, getting a good look at what they look like from a demographic perspective, which will help with future marketing endeavors as the network attempts to promote Outcast.

Social video is appealing over traditional TV due to the high level of measurability it offers ? something that traditional TV has struggled with. It is far more difficult to track viewers across traditional cable than through a social network where their profile is attached to their viewing.

"With social intelligence, FOX didn?t just make history with their premiere; the global entertainment broadcaster gained rich insights about its audience, was able to analyze the language surrounding the programming and brand, and further, the teams were able to create metrics to inform future business decisions, from marketing to programming," a Fox spokesman said.