TRACKING TV SHOWS THROUGH BLOGS

BuzzMetrics Unveils Syndicated Service, Follows Initiative's Pilot

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- That clicking noise you hear after a TV show ends is viewers keyboarding away on their thoughts about a show. BuzzMetrics, a word-of-mouth research firm, is rolling out a service that seeks to measure online buzz about TV shows.

The firm’s technology will eavesdrop on blogs, chat rooms and other online social-networking venues to measure volume of discussion and the level of viewer engagement.
A pilot version of TV BuzzMetrics started this week, and will look at the 30 programs announced at last spring’s upfront. Clients are TV network and cable clients and their agencies.

The firm’s technology will eavesdrop on blogs, chat rooms and other online social-networking venues to measure volume of discussion and the level of viewer engagement. It tracks keywords geared to particular programs. “Until now it wasn’t possible to find out in unaided public forums what people were saying about a show,” said Michael Kaplan, managing director of TV practice at BuzzMetrics.

However, earlier this year a service monitoring blog chatter around TV shows was executed by media buying agency Intiative, which partnered with a buzz-marketing company called Trendum, according to Stacey Lynn Koerner, exec VP-director of global research at Initiative. This fall, Trendum merged with BuzzMetrics. Initiative still possesses its offering and is planning next year to put out a competing product as part of a larger integrated consulting product.

BuzzMetrics data are geared to help TV clients make creative story and character decisions as well as programming decisions. “We’ll be able to find out what is driving discussion and cater to them,” Mr. Kaplan said.

Initial metrics of volume of discussion and engagement show that three of the top five prime-time programs according to buzz levels are from NBC: “My Name is Earl,” “Surface” and “Martha Stewart’s Apprentice,” which was not picked up for another run.

How many people jump online to talk about a program after they’ve watched it? Currently, there are 23 million messages that were posted by 100,000 unique posters. These individuals represent a unique set of people that are going to influence others on what they watch,” Mr. Kaplan said. “[The numbers of people discussion shows] are a good sign that people still love their shows and are emotionally attached to them.”

The full-fledged program is slated to begin by early in the second quarter of 2006.

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