Firm to Measure Blog-Based TV Buzz
Eluded to at a recent ad:tech conference in New York, Word of mouth research and planning firm BuzzMetrics has launched a syndicated service to measure television discussion on blogs, message boards and other social media. Called TV*BuzzMetrics, the ratings service will provide television executives and advertisers "ongoing qualitative insights that help explain key drivers of viewer engagement, and understand potential value of new programs." Making this all possible, BuzzMetrics is a business affiliate of VNU, owner of research brands ACNielsen and Nielsen Media Research.
Initial findings for October were quite revealing in terms of their differences as compared to standard television measurement metrics. According to October 2005 consumer discussions within online television-enthusiast communities:
Three of the top five primetime programs according to total buzz levels are from NBC, including My Name is Earl, Martha Stewart's Apprentice and Surface.
Launch-week buzz (beginning August 29, 2005) for Fox's Prison Break was more than 50 percent higher than any other new program launch. The show ranked second according to total October buzz levels, despite a three-week hiatus for the Major League Baseball playoffs.
NBC's My Name is Earl and CBS's How I Met Your Mother rank first and second, respectively, according to their composition of positive buzz. Among total discussions about those shows, 56 and 54 percent, respectively, were positive. That compares to the average 37 percent for the 15 new programs with the highest composition of positive buzz.
Viewers often associate shows on the same network with each other. For example, when enthusiasts discuss Fox's Prison Break, other shows most highly linked in natural conversation are other Fox shows, including 24, Bones, House, Reunion, Killer Instinct and Kitchen Confidential.
No doubt, it will take quite a while for buyers to give credence to these metrics when they are so very different from Nielsen ratings. But credence should be given since many say the Nielsen diary system is flawed at best.