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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 25, 2012

Time Warner Funds Social TV Analytics Start-up Bluefin Labs

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

International multimedia news agency Reuters (News - Alert) reports that the country’s second largest cable company, Time Warner Inc, is funding a social TV analytics start-up Bluefin Labs. As per this report, Time Warner is leading a $12 million round of funding into the new company that specializes in analyzing tweets and Facebook (News - Alert) posts by people watching their favorite TV programs.

In this second round of funding, Bluefin Labs is also backed by another new investor, SoftBank Capital. First round supporters Redpoint Ventures and Lerer Ventures are also participating in the second round of financing, wrote Reuters’ reporter Yinka Adegoke.

In the past, according to the Reuters report, media conglomerate Time Warner (News - Alert) also financed social entertainment company GetGlue.

Reuters quoted Time Warner investments executive Rachel Lam, as saying in a statement, “The latest investment in Bluefin showed that the company sees engaging and understanding TV viewers as important to its future as more viewers share their opinions and experiences about TV through social media… For Time Warner it's pretty important to understand where the social data might take us and how it impacts television programming as well as the advertising," noted Lam, who will be joining Bluefin's board.

Reuters’ reporter Adegoke wrote that Boston-based Bluefin launched its flagship analytics service Bluefin Signals last July for clients to analyze and organize social media conversations about U.S. national television.

“The company said clients use the social data about TV shows and commercials to help make buying and selling decisions,” wrote Adegoke.  Some of Bluefin's clients include TV networks, marketers and agencies including CBS Corp, Discovery Communications Turner Networks, Starcom MediaVest, MediaCom and MTV.

Adegoke’s report indicates that so far the company has collected data from more than 11,000 shows and analyzes more than 5 billion pieces of social media commentary every month to comprehend the viewers as consumers of programming as well as advertising. Bluefin chief executive Deb Roy told Reuters that “his company will focus on expanding its sales efforts to get the service to more clients who want a better understanding of social media to better optimize their advertising to consumers.”

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Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves