Television broadcasters are keen to join forces with Facebook for viewer interaction, with one idea strongly looked at being the ability to vote during live reality TV shows using the social networking site's credit system.
Previously, it had been revealed that X-Factor was in talks with Facebook over creating a voting system for the live shows on the social networking platform. However, Pocket-lint has learned that the site is working with multiple broadcasters to look at ways of introducing paid viewer participation with their programming.
Currently, as well as X-Factor, other shows in the UK, such as Britain's Got Talent, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here and Dancing on Ice, use traditional forms of paid voting, through telephone, mobile and red button services. However, the rise of social networking, and its growing role in the participation of event television is one that all stations hope to capitalise on:
"Credits have recently started to pique the interest of broadcasters," said Karla Geci, Facebook Strategic Partnership Development to Pocket-lint at The Futuresource Entertainment Summit in London. "They originally arrived as a tool for social games on Facebook to monetise virtual goods - to buy a tractor in Farmville - but now there's a shift to thinking about how a credit may be used for, maybe, a vote in a talent programme.
"Why can't you buy a vote online to select your favourite contestant in Britain's Got Talent, in X-Factor, etc?"
Why not, indeed. But, contrary to other reports, we may not see the system ready for the start of this year's edition of X-Factor. More thought needs to go into the way it is enacted, as the user experience is equally as important to Facebook as the cash:
"It's completely shifted the way we have to think about how users engage with credits on the platform," she added. "Although it's a virtual world, the line is drawn into the real world. Where you're actually voting in an actual programme that you're watching on television.
"It's exciting as it's another opportunity to monetise [for Facebook and the broadcasters]. But, from the users' perspective, how do you create a seamless and good experience that they're used to with phone voting?"
There is plenty of interest, however, so we are in no doubt that Facebook voting for major reality TV shows in is on the way - in the UK, at least. And we wouldn't be surprised if it happens before the end of the year.
Just not in time for the final of Popstar to Operastar.
Would you vote on reality shows using Facebook or other forms of social media? Let is know your thoughts in the comments below...