SBS open to further Facebook experiments as The Family Law draws 140,000 plus views

SBS has signalled it will continue to seed full length TV content via Facebook after drawing strong numbers for a pilot project on the social media site using the first episode of Benjamin Law’s new show.

The-Family-Law-SBSAccording to the public broadcaster 144,485 people viewed more than 30 seconds of the 24 minute show The Family Law, while 22,978 people watched more than 95 per cent of the show, allowing for a drop off when the program reached credits. 

Jo McAllister SBS head of group marketing told Mumbrella she was very pleased with the results of the experiment: “The whole purpose was so the audience could sample it.

“At SBS our budgets are much more limited, than there other TV networks, and so we look for opportunities to be a bit different,” she said. “This holds us in good stead for the launch on Thursday (when the show goes to air).”

SBS is not the first TV Network to experiment with seeding content on Facebook. Last year Seven debuted the X Factor on the social platform, but McAllister noted that one of the benefits was early feedback ahead of the launch on-air.

The multicultural broadcaster announced it would host a two day Facebook event last week where people could watch the first episode of the self described drama-comedy about Law’s childhood.

McAlister Facebook helps create FOMO among consumers.

McAlister Facebook helps create FOMO among consumers.

She also noted that part of the strategy was to create FOMO – fear of missing out – among consumers and hook them in for the full six part series.

“The engagement went phenomenally well,” she said. “People could really connect with it and the humour in it.

“I feel like if we can get everyone talking about it then it builds it up and creates some ‘fear of missing out’ for people who haven’t watched it and also to then get them to watch the entire series.”

McAllister also spoke about the decision not to include ads with the Facebook event. Describing how the idea came about she said:”I was speaking to Facebook and I said I thought it was something their audience would really engage with and so we sent a copy over to them and they agreed.

“Being able to get people a sneak peek helps generate the buzz around the show,” she said. “This wasn’t about generating ad revenue.

“It was always just going to be a straight broadcast of the episode because it was housed within Facebook it was about creating the buzz to get everyone into watching the show be it on TV or SBS OnDemand where we would then look for revenue opportunities.”

Law: the Facebook event hit a chord with audiences.

Law: the Facebook event hit a chord with audiences.

The Family Law’s creator Benjamin Law also told Mumbrella he was pleased with the Facebook strategy.

“It’s a lot of eyeballs but it is really interesting to look at the thread of comments afterwards,” he said.

“The numbers were obviously going up and that’s really important for Facebook and SBS but the shares and comments were also going through the charts,” he said, noting Facebook claims the show’s reach on the platform was 2.2m with 1.1m having at least three seconds of the show play in their feeds.

“A lot of them were just people tagging each other and saying things like ‘hey look it’s our mum’ and they were tagging in their brothers and sisters.”

For Law and his producers they believed it was useful feedback.

“There was a lot of that feedback that you can’t necessarily expect from (traditional) TV and people getting on Twitter etc. and compared to Facebook so few people are on Twitter so this was really helpful for us to see what are people liking and what in some cases are they disliking and all of that is really helpful,” he said.

“A lot of the feedback that was surprising was Chinese Australians are relating it to themselves. There were a lot of people who weren’t (from an Asian background) and they were saying it looked like their friend’s families or people they knew, were married or partnered with.”

The cast of The Family Law

The cast of The Family Law

The Family Law follows the life of 14-year-old Law and his migrant family as the experience a long, hot, Queensland summer. The program will debut on January 14 on SBS’s main channel.

Nic Christensen 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.