The Buzz Trackers
Bands and films may generate great buzz in online chat rooms and on blogs, but TV shows tend to prompt the most rabid responses. Take the onslaught following revelations about the hatch of "Lost," or in the wake of Constantine's unceremonious ejection from "American Idol" last spring.
BuzzMetrics, now affiliated with VNU-owned Nielsen Media Research, has taken on the task of measuring such online banter. The buzz firm is tracking the top 30 new network programs of the 2005-2006 TV season via its TV*BuzzMetrics service. Through sophisticated data-capturing techniques and regular monitoring and analysis, BuzzMetrics hopes to offer media firms, creatives, and networks insight into what drives viewer engagement.
"Anything TV-related that people are talking about online, we're hoping to capture," says Michael Kaplan, director of client services for BuzzMetrics. But there's a difference between quantitative viewer-measurement systems and TV*BuzzMetrics' approach. "We're measuring people of interest, the ones who really care, the ones who jump online after an episode to say what they think and see what others think. They're the ones that drive the buzz."
BuzzMetrics has recruited heavy hitters from CBS, Nielsen, and the Advertising Research Foundation for advice, and expanded its offering to include all TV programming. it could eventually expand beyond televised content.