On the heels of impressive engagement around around this past weekend’s Super Bowl football championship, Twitter today officially confirmed that it has purchased Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics service. The deal had been reported first yesterday by Business Insider. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but BI notes that it’s Twitter’s biggest acquisition to date.
The acquisition fits in well with how Twitter is developing as a business on two different levels.
On one hand, BlueFin’s analytics can be used to enhance advertising services: Twitter is using its streams of user-generated Tweets to embed sponsored and promoted tweets from brands and other businesses, and at the same time Twitter has proven to be a powerful vehicle for conversations about media, and specifically what’s live on the telly. Putting those two together, Twitter can potentially occupy a strategic position as a key place for second-screen advertising if it can better mine the TV-related data it already has passing through its streams. This also builds on Twitter’s recent partnership with Nielsen to build up and use TV viewing data.
On the other hand, Twitter is on the lookout for ways to continue to enhance its platform and make it more engaging for users. While today people are mainly using Twitter as a way to comment on what is happening on the main screen, Twitter is also increasingly embedding media experiences directly in the Twitter river. Twitter’s new acquisition could help come up with solutions to better bridge those two. Bluefin, Twitter notes, can help create innovative “consumer experiences in the exciting intersection of Twitter and TV.”
For Bluefin, it almost seems inevitable that the company would have eventually joined — or else been killed by — Twitter, such was their dependency on the social network for data to make the analytical wheels turn.
“While our products have always included data from multiple social media services, the reality is that Twitter is the platform where the overwhelming majority – about 95% – of public real-time engagement with TV happens,” Bluefin’s founders Michael Fleischman, Deb Roy and Jean-Philippe Maheu write in their blog post about the acquisition. “So we couldn’t be more excited to join Twitter.”
The company, which was first borne out of research work from MIT Media Lab, will remain in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and from where it will “grow over time.”