Over the past year and a half, social TV analytics company Bluefin Labs has gone from being a stealth startup to becoming an invaluable provider of research for TV networks, brands, and agencies who want to delve into the social conversations that are happening around TV shows. Now, as it prepares to take its next steps forward, the company has hired veteran agency executive JP Maheu as its new CEO.
Bluefin Labs provides detailed analytics around social messages that TV viewers send while watching television. It scours Twitter and other social networks in realtime to determine audience sentiment and affinity data around various TV shows. It can tell networks which shows viewers are most engaged with, what shows share affinity graphs, and the like. It can also provide pretty granular data around brand advertising, showing brands and agencies how viewers are responding to their adverts during different shows.
Its research is used by more than 40 TV networks in the U.S., as well as a number of brands and agencies. Maheu tells me that networks were using its data during their upfronts, as a way to try to show how engaged their audiences are to boost CPMs. Brands and agencies are also using its data, in part to better help them target particular audience segments and measure the effectiveness of their TV ad campaigns.
With Maheu at the helm, Bluefin will get a shot in the arm on the agency side, as he has spent the last several years in senior positions among a number of digital agencies. He served as CEO of Razorfish, where he led strategy and growth of the agency. He also served as chief digital officer of Ogilvy & Mather and most recently was Global CEO of Publicis Modem, the digital marketing unit of Publicis Worldwide and largest agency within the Publicis Groupe.
Maheu replaces Bluefin Labs co-founder and former CEO Deb Roy, who is a tenured member of MIT Media Lab. He’s been on leave while running the startup for the last two-and-a-half years, but he plans to return next January. Roy will remain on as chairman of the startup, and will work with Maheu on long-range strategy for the company.
Bluefin Labs has raised more than $20 million in funding, including a $12 million Series B round led by Time Warner Investments in January. Other investors include SoftBank Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Lerer Ventures.