FremantleMedia之所以看好社交媒体，原因之一是该公司是谷歌YouTube原创频道项目（YouTube Original Channel）的主要发起者。这个项目向节目制作者支付稿酬，鼓励他们不断为YouTube创造新节目。Fremantle在YouTube上的专栏《宠物大集合》（The Pet Collective）已拥有超过500段视频，自今年4月开播以来，长期高居YouTube最受欢迎前30名之列。这档节目观众群体庞大、成本低廉、而且多是“键盘上的猫”这样的情景剧。超过7.5万的订阅数、1,600万浏览量，《宠物大集合》甚至借此拉来了宠物食品公司Purina的赞助。
与此同时，Fremantle知名度最高的节目——《家庭智力抢答》（Family Feud）却不能在线观看。该公司专门开设了一个YouTube频道，用有趣的片段和花絮来吸引观众，但却没有将这档大受欢迎的游戏竞赛节目的整集内容发布到网上，声称原因是因为观众对该内容的需求不大。《家庭智力抢答》频道有7万订阅者，其视频观看次数达到了6,300万。“我们有些内容更适合在多个平台上发布，有些则不然，”FremantleMedia 跨平台部负责开发和制片的高级副总裁理查德•巴尔加斯说。“《宠物大集合》就没有上电视，而且它目前的节目形式也不适合在电视上播放。”
A look at how Boxee has evolved over the last four years shows this shift taking place. Starting off as an aggregation software, the company wanted to allow users to watch any file format they wanted on their media-PC connected TVs. Next, with the release of the Boxee Box and the maturation of their software, they added social functions that delivered video recommendations from Facebook and Twitter friends. Now, with its newest product, Boxee TV, the company is using over-the-air HD signals to feed a watch-anywhere DVR that pairs with Internet apps. From file formats, to friends, to apps the company's goal has remained the same: to help viewers find and watch content easily. (How novel.) And with 3,000 Walmarts (WMT) stocking their new product, you could argue this once-niche product may have finally gone mainstream.
Meanwhile, content creators like Fremantle are relying on social media to shepherd viewers. "Discovery has definitely become a major issue, to be honest," says Claire Tavernier, global head of FremantleMedia Cross Platforms. As cable channels and online outlets have multiplied over the last ten years, the problem been growing. "[Social media] has become the most efficient discovery mechanism, which is not ideal," she says.
One reason they have become so bullish on social media for content discovery is that they are one of the major players in Google's YouTube Original Channel initiative, a program that pays content creators an advance on royalties to produce new content for the streaming video site. With more than 500 videos, Fremantle's YouTube channel The Pet Collective has ranked consistently in the top 30 YouTube channels since its launch in April, airing popular, low-cost, episodic content such as the "Kitten on a Keyboard." With 75,000 subscribers and almost 16 million views, The Pet Collective's success has attracted Purina as a sponsor.
Meanwhile, one of Fremantle's most high-profile properties, Family Feud, cannot be watched online. The company uses a dedicated YouTube channel to generate living room interest with funny clips and outtakes, but does not post full episodes of the popular game show online, saying there isn't enough demand for the content. The Family Feud channel has 70,000 subscribers and 63 million video views. "Some of our content is more appropriate to be distributed on different platforms than others," says Richard Vargas, senior vice president of development and production, FremantleMedia Cross Platforms. "The Pet Collective isn't on television, and isn't really designed to be on television in its current form."
But through web-connected set-top boxes and so-called smart TVs, The Pet Collective is on television -- at least it's on mine. And as consumers continue to cut their cable cord and go with internet-fed video in their living rooms, it will be on theirs as well. But until content creators, web distributors, and device manufacturers band together to streamline the process of finding content—whether its Merlin, Family Feud, or Kitten on a Keyboard -- they'll be gambling against viewers pushing the one button everyone understands: Power off.