Media Mavens 2013

Deb Roy: Twitter's Rad Scientist

Media Maven Brings Rigor To Assertion That Social Network Complements TV

By Published on .

A key part of Twitter's ad strategy rests on the assertion that the service is a complement to TV viewing. Deb Roy is bringing scientific rigor to that claim.

Deb Roy
Deb Roy

A tenured MIT professor who came to Twitter in February via its acquisition of the social-TV-analytics startup he co-founded, Bluefin Labs, Mr. Roy is the company's chief media scientist. He's charged with propping up ad sales by applying data to support Twitter's positioning as a driver of TV tune-in and articulating how its TV-related ad products work, which he did with beautiful data visualizations and his engaging professorial delivery at Cannes.

Mr. Roy, 44, believes the TV industry is undergoing a seismic change -- triggered by its audience increasingly dividing their attention between their set and their tablet -- akin to what Hollywood experienced during the transition to talkies, which dramatically altered how people related to movies. "There are certain kinds of programming that I think, looking at the data, are social by nature. They just catalyze conversation," he said. "What's happening in the TV industry is a search to optimize for that characteristic and create more of it."

If you were stranded on a desert island, which magazines would you want most?
Survivalist magazine (never read it, but when in Rome ...).

What is your guilty-pleasure TV show?
"The Walking Dead."

Describe your daily media consumption.
Google News and wherever it takes me, NYTimes, Business Insider, TechCrunch, Twitter and wherever it takes me, email, email, email, occasional late-night TV.

Which obsolete tech device do you wish you could have back?

My favorite medium, bar any is …
Face-to-face conversation.

Most Popular