Bluefin Labs is exploring the relationships between listener and speaker, orator and audience, marketer and audience, and mass media and audience by looking at about 3 billion social-media comments a month and, from that, filtering and mapping about 13.7 million comments that pertained to TV and/or commercials.
That mapping of social-media conversations to TV shows and commercials is called the TV genome; Bluefin was founded at MIT as a result of language-acquisition research MIT Researcher Deb Roy did on how his child had learned to talk.
“Mass media has a tremendous benefit in that it reaches many people at the same time, but one of the drawbacks is the feedback loop from audience back to speaker and communicator is essentially broken, or at least you lose much of it,” said Tom Thai, VP-marketing and business development at Bluefin. The idea behind Bluefin is to offer a deeper look at the audience feedback, beyond numbers of viewers and demography. Put simply: It is focused on taking the conversations and chatter that happen in social media and tying them back to the stimulus that caused that conversation on TV — either shows or ads.
The challenge in all of this: help machines understand the semantic layer, or the what the conversation is about. As he describes it, the first input is TV, the second input is social media. The space in the middle is the semantic barrier.
Today, the Bluefin technology platform has a view into over 3 billion public-facing social media comments each month, tied to a continuously growing video fingerprint archive of over 200,000 distinct airings of TV shows and commercials. Bluefin currently ingests and performs video fingerprinting of close to 50 U.S. TV broadcast and cable networks, with plans to achieve full coverage of the national TV market.
Thus, for marketers and TV content producers, Bluefin’s technology solves a problem that has eluded the TV industry for more than 60 years: how to close the audience feedback loop of TV mass media.
Bluefin is currently running exclusive private pilots with several Fortune 100 global brands, leading ad agencies, and TV networks.
Such was the publicly subsidized cutting edge of social science in the United States in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Your grandchildren, should any ever come to exist, will be amazed, and furious.