Channel 5 makes UK first as iPlatform brings Facebook Credit Voting to life

Created by Sneha Bedi on Mon 20th Feb 2012

Channel 5 has launched Facebook voting for its reality show Big Brother. This marks the first time a UK television network uses Facebook Credits for voting on a TV show.

The Facebook application sits on the Official Big Brother UK Facebook page. Viewers will be able to vote off Big Brother contestants using Facebook’s virtual currency system, Facebook Credits. This is a significant shift from using telephoning and SMS-voting as has been done traditionally in the past.

The aim is to reflect the habits of our audience today and Channel 5 believes that prioritising social media is the way to get people involved in the show.

Channel 5, which picked up the reality format from Channel 4, is working with the show’s production company, Endemol, and Facebook’s first UK-based Preferred Developer Consultant, iPlatform, to pioneer this project. Agostino di Falco, Partnerships Director of Channel 5, said on Metro that implementing Facebook Credits “fits very well with their ambition: to retain the core essence of the show whilst adding relevant points of innovation which add value to viewers and potential marketing partners alike.” This is one of the first experimental journeys by a broadcaster to revitalise an older format using multi-platform engagement.


From the start, Channel 5 wanted to integrate Facebook Credits seamlessly into the voting experience. The emphasis is on a very simple purchasing experience for the user. It needs to be linked to the user flow and it needs to be immersive. You don’t want to leave the app to buy your currency; you want a one-step, continuous process into the Facebook Credits purchase dialogue. And that’s what we achieved.

iPlatform’s close relationship with Facebook has allowed Channel 5 to experiment more effectively with features of the Facebook platform. To personalise the entire process of the voting user journey, we also included a Thank You video from selected Big Brother contestants at the end of the vote. On top of the voting mechanism, Channel 5 wanted users to see latest updated content from Big Brother directly. To allow for uploading heavy content to the Big Brother Facebook apps, iPlatform built the API for Channel 5 content, iPhone and Android apps. Our moderation system also allowed cross-production teams to update the TV schedule and voting periods, notifying users of important timings of Big Brother.


According to numbers supplied by Channel 5, during the three-week series of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in January fans voted around 700,000 times, just over 30% of which were through the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ Facebook app.

The addition of Facebook voting helped increase the number of votes by around 300,000 when compared with last year’s series of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, a rise of more than 70%, although the number of phone votes increased too.

Initial estimates suggested last year’s ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ had around 500,000 votes but Channel 5 has now confirmed the figure was actually around 100,000 lower.

Channel 5 introduced the Facebook app for the traditional ‘Big Brother’ series in September last year. The app allows fans to vote in the series as well as read news about the show and look at photographs.

Phone votes cost 36p and Facebook votes cost either 7p for a single vote via PayPal or £1 for a bundle of votes via other payment mechanisms. It is not known what Channel 5′s cut of the revenue was.

Over the course of the latest series, ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ achieved an average overnight audience of 1.94 million viewers on Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD (or 2.05 million viewers including Channel 5 +1).

According to figures from Channel 5 between 1 January and 21 January ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ helped the channel improve its overall adult commercial impacts by 6.2%. ABC1 impacts by 20.2%, and 16- to 34-year-olds by 72.8%

Nick Bampton, sales director at Channel 5, said: “Launching a voting app on Facebook not only demonstrates Channel 5’s innovative spirit, but, with these results, our effectiveness as well.”