Facebook and NBC partner for Olympics coverage and Timeline integration

Facebook and NBC today announced a partnership for the upcoming London Olympics that will give the network data about what users are talking about related to the Games and includes Timeline integration for the NBC Olympics website.

The companies will collaborate by directing viewers of the games to interact on Facebook as well as encouraging Facebook users to tune into the NBC broadcasts. There will be numerous uses, including a Facebook “Talk Meter,” which will be occasionally shown on TV. The tool will inform viewers about stories, results, athletes and events that other fans of the Olympic Games are talking about on Facebook. During primetime, NBC will also promote a daily poll on Facebook specific to the Games.

Although social media interaction with live television is more common practice with Twitter, Facebook, with an estimated 900 million users, is looking to tap into their own community. Nielsen studies have found that almost half of tablet and smartphone owners use their devices while watching television and this partnership seems to be a way for Facebook to enter the “second screen” space.

NBC has also integrated Facebook with NBCOlympics.com, so visitors can automatically share articles they read as well as videos they watch. The website will provide live streaming video for every Olympic event this summer. With hundreds of hours of content available to visitors, Facebook integration will help increase reach by allowing friends to share content with others. USA Today saw a 20 percent viral lift for its Super Bowl Ad Meter application earlier this year by integrating Open Graph and publishing users’ activity to Timeline. NBC’s website seems to have the necessary controls in place for users to understand how and when their activity is being shared, and an option to easily turn this feature off, as seen below. Users can learn more about the app and add it to their Timeline through the App Center.

The NBC Olympics page on Facebook will also share exclusive content that can only be seen if a user has Liked the page. Facebook will have a small team in London crunching data about their users interactions. NBC will then be able to use this data for stories.

This announcement is in addition to Facebook’s efforts with the Explore London 2012 page, which allows users to browse and follow pages about their favorite athletes and sports.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced a partnership with CNN for its coverage of the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

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