Twitter buys firm tracking TV talk

2013-02-06 11:16

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San Francisco – Twitter announced on Tuesday that it has bought Bluefin Labs to ride the trend of viewers using smartphones or tablet computers to chat at social networks about shows they are watching.

Born out of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bluefin combines cognitive science and machine learning to measure how much people are talking about broadcasts in real time on Twitter, Facebook and other forums.

Bluefin, founded in 2008, also measures whether people online are making favourable or unfavourable comments.

"Bluefin's data science capabilities and social TV expertise will help us create innovative new ad products and consumer experiences in the exciting intersection of Twitter and TV," Twitter chief operating officer Ali Rowghani said in a blog post.

Bluefin reported Monday that 30.6 million public Twitter messages and Facebook comments about Super Bowl XLVII fired off during the game, with 3.9 million of those being about ads.

There were 24.1 million tweets about the US football game and halftime show starring singer Beyonce, not counting messages about ads, according to Twitter.

"While our products have always included data from multiple social media services, the reality is that Twitter is the platform where the overwhelming majority, about 95% of public real-time engagement with TV, happens," Bluefin said in a blog post announcing the deal.

"As part of Twitter, we look forward to working closely with Nielsen, TV networks, advertisers, agencies and the rest of the TV ecosystem to help shape the future of social TV."

In December, Nielsen announced a deal to tap into Twitter to gauge how much online buzz is being generated by television shows instead of simply focusing on numbers of viewers for programmes.

The television show-tracking service, whose data can determine whether programmes will be canceled, said that it is working with the popular messaging service to create a Nielsen Twitter TV rating.

"Twitter has become the world's digital water cooler, where conversations about TV happen in real time," Twitter vice president of media Chloe Sladden said when the Nielsen alliance was announced.

Nielsen ratings of shows based on sentiment and comments in Twitter's "fire hose" of tweeted messages were expected to be available in the US this year.

- SAPA
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