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ABC to integrate social media into programs

Australia's national public broadcaster may soon be introducing social media integration to its television shows.

The ABC has teamed up with the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation to introduce Facebook and Twitter content to its programs as part of the broadcaster's social media strategy.

The move comes as the television network looks to engage with Australians using "second screens" – such as phones and tablet computers – while viewing television content.

"It's about allowing people to engage a little more than they have been able to in the past with what they're watching," said ABC's manager of new media services Chris Winter told Fairfax Media today (February 24).

"One of the great prompters of conversation is what you're watching on the telly. In the past we sit in the lounge room and talk to the person sitting next to us, in the future it will become easier and easier to engage with people who are not in the same room."

Developed by National ICT Australia (NICTA), the technology can overlay online discussions currently occurring on Twitter discussion on top of any show across the ABC's multiple channels.

The unique technology will also have the ability to recommend shows based on previous behaviour, as well as what TV shows the viewer's Facebook friends are watching and talking about.

NICTA showcased the system at its Techfest 2012 exhibition today – and the ABC is expected to begin trials in June.

Recently, the ABC has included tweets during its Q&A program on Monday nights – a show which has generated one million tweets since 2009 and regularly features as the top trending topic.

The addition of social media content comes as no surprise, with 75 per cent of the Australian internet population now signed up to Facebook.

Posted by Elise Ferrari