SocialGuide: Adding Social Value to TV Program Guides
SocialGuide CEO Sean Casey briefed us today on recent accomplishments and upcoming milestones for his company that focuses on social media activity around television programming running on 170 U.S. networks. The basic idea for users is that in addition to getting time and channel listings for programs, information about social activity around these shows will add value to program selection and engagement. SocialGuide was founded by Casey in February 2011 with $1.5 million in angel funding from media industry veteran Alex Zubillaga. It is based in Brooklyn with five employees there and a four-person development team based in Poland.
SocialGuide positions itself as a consumer and data services company that aggregates and parses social media messages (mostly the publicly accessible Twitter stream at this point) around television show content. Casey said SocialGuide has now built up a comments database of 103 million social network messages. The focus is on national programming, but Casey says the database includes geolocation tags so there is a possibility the service could be localized if a local market demand develops. For example, a local cable system or TV station might look at the Top 10 Social TV shows in its markets and make this part of the sales pitch for those programs if they are in its lineups.
Based on the number of social TV comments, SocialGuide provides rankings for networks, programs, episodes and other breakout including the most frequent commenters. SocialGuide even reaches out to the top ranked commenters and lets them know they are top ranked. Commenters can become members of SocialGuide and its recognition and reward programs. It now has about 1,500 members.
Casey observes that based on his company’s analysis 90 percent of social TV activity by its measure occurs in the window one hour before program air time to two hours post airing. That’s what the SocialGuide algorithm uses to capture social messaging. Casey says the other 10 percent of social activity does not directly tie in to the programs analyzed and become essentially noise.
SocialGuide aggregates social activity into several streams such as “everyone,” “friends” and “cast” to get social messages tweeted by program actors and personalities. Shows are ranked by popularity based on number of comments. There are Daily Top 10 Shows and the Social 100 top shows ranked weekly and monthly.
Beginning in October, SocialGuide plans to provide paid data services targeting media and brands that would provide more data analytics. SocialGuide will also offer widgets and access to real-time social streams to industry customers but these would be free services to users. It will soon offer an API that MSOs and others could use to integrate SocialGuide’s social program guide with their Electronic Program Guide for a richer user experience.
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As an online tv personality, I agree with this. Our show, The Big Chat, is based around our chat feature of where we engage our audiences and encourage questions, comments – the good, bad, and ugly. We have giveaways that are based online to keep our audience “in front” of us, but still to allow them to check out our sponsors/advertisers while on the internet.