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Tool Probes Blogosphere to Foretell TV Lineup Future

Media shop Initiative Media claims its new analytic tool, dubbed PropheSEE, is able to mine and analyze online buzz to determine how the new fall TV lineup will fare, reports MediaPost. The tool has apparently combed through 15 million blogs and online chat groups from May to July 2005 to gather data that reveals attitudes toward plot developments, loyalty or dislike for TV characters, and viewers' various other opinions.

By understanding the relationship between audiences and TV programs, Initiative hopes to also create a less intrusive strategy for ad deployment, according to MediaPost. "We encourage our clients not to disrupt [the viewing] experience, but enable it. So you sponsor online gaming content, or you have adjacent interviews with relevant stars of those shows - things like that," an Initiative spokesperson is quoted as saying.

But media buyers won't necessarily be convinced of such tools' predictive capabilities. Brad Adgate, senior vice-president and director of research for Horizon Media is quoted as saying, "A lot of people will watch the first episode, but then the audience dwindles rapidly. Down the road, there are many other variables that are going to influence a show's actual success."

According to the Initiative spokesperson, PorpheSEE "allows us to scientifically analyze feelings, emotions, opinions, and contentions. That's how you get at sentiment." She claims the tool might replace some industry practices: "In the past, we would have had to do ethnographic research or focus group research to get at this kind of information."

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