MIPCOM Report: Facebook’s Joanna Shields

Facebook's VP of EMEA, Joanna Shields, says the social networking site has the 'potential to become the most powerful marketing medium ever created.'
October 6, 2010

Facebook VP, EMEA Joanna Shields (pictured) brought a twist to the Marshall McLuhan adage during her keynote address at MIPCOM yesterday. According to Shields, it’s no longer ‘the medium is the message’ but rather, ‘the people are the message.’

Shields’ began her keynote speech by discussing the change the Internet has undergone since its inception, when it mainly focused on information and the organizing of that information. Today the Internet is focused on people with social interaction as a primary use, said Shields.

‘Facebook has the potential to become the most powerful marketing medium ever created,’ said Shields; a big statement with big statistics to support it. Over the past four months alone, another 100,000 people became active users on Facebook. Sixty percent of users log in daily and spend an average of six hours on the social network. Currently there are 500 million active users. Shields said that Facebook has allowed users to share with real people, a change from the avatars and aliases of the chat room era.

Facebook has also become a viable tool for television and film, with shows such as Family Guy, House, South Park, Two and a Half Men and the fact ent Top Gear among the most popular pages on the site. Now, creators and distributors of TV and film can communicate with the fans directly who in turn gain insights to the brands, especially with the advent of Facebook Insights Dashboard, a tool that gives the Facebook page administrator its analytics.

Over time, feature films such as Toy Story 3 and reality TV series such as The X Factor are adding more interactive content to their Facebook pages, giving fans more content. For Toy Story 3, Disney put up a poll on the Facebook page which had 140,000 people engaging with the film in one weekend.

For reality competition X Factor, updates received 1,070 comments and 1,117 ‘likes’ within just seven minutes. Since activity with the competitors happens beyond the tapings, the Facebook page became a place to give fans even more content while awaiting for the next episode.

Shields also adds that when the TV season is over, the demand for content still exists from the audience, so Facebook is the perfect place for people to continue to engage with fans via polls, updates and video material.

Facebook recently launched its answer to Foursquare, Facebook Places in certain large markets, which lets users ‘check in’ and say where they are at that moment, and Shields says in the future users could check into a TV program they’re watching. In the meantime, in an increasingly ‘dual screen’ era, the TV industry should look into event ads, where people sign up to get a reminder that their program is about to start. Additionally, Shields says that video polls work the best for engaging the audience.

Photo credit: 360 Media/Images & Co.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.