Is Facebook the 21st Century answer to prime-time television? The chief operating officer of the world’s most popular social networking company almost builds a case to suggest that.
“I view and desire that Facebook is the best place to connect and communicate,” Sheryl Sandberg told journalists in New Delhi on a three-day tour of India, which she describes as the most important market for the company outside of its native US.
With 100 million of its 1.28 billion global users in India, Facebook’s penetration compares well with the reach of cable TV in the country. Smartphones will increase that.
“As more and more people spend time on digital, marketers will go where the people are,” Sandberg says.
In the United States, the average time spent by a consumer in front of a TV is now 4.5 hours, while digital screens (computers, tablets and mobiles) have already crossed that at 5.25 hours.
In India, the comparable figures are 1.5 hours for TV and 3 hours for smartphone screens. Within the digital space, Facebook sees itself as hot property, hotter in some ways than Google-owned YouTube that leads online videos.
“We are by far the number one mobile app. In the US we are bigger than the next seven combined, including YouTube,” Sandberg says.
In the US, Facebook has 30 million pages and as many as 1 million advertisers, indicating a huge potential that has already gathered momentum.