What's on the tube? Track television trends by keyword with SnapStream TV Trends

Posted by maggie.hunsucker June 16, 2009

We can rattle off a list of tools for monitoring industry trends and brand buzz (Google Alerts, Google Trends, Twitter’s Trending Tool, Social Mention, Trackur…), but that’s all online.  What about more traditional media territory like television?

SnapStream TV Trends is a free web service that tracks and analyzes national TV chatter.   It works by crawling the closed-captioning text of the programs it records through its parent service, SnapStream Servers.   Quick background:  SnapStream Servers is like an enterprise TiVo with a built-in search engine.  It records massive quantities of television programming, then sifts through the material for brand mentions.   It’s used by XM Radio, E!’s the Soup, and the U.S. Senate, among others.

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Of course, we’re getting the light version with SnapStream TV Trends, which serves up the relative frequency of television mentions vs. hard data (similar to how Google Trends operates).  Still, it’s an excellent insights tool.  From the homepage, you can see what’s hot (ascending mentions) and what’s not (descending mentions) in TVland – or run a keyword search.   The service will graph and compare the historical performance of (up to) 5 terms (e.g. Facebook vs. Twitter).  Data points correspond with excerpts from various programs (e.g. Twitter is mentioned on Fox & Friends) and are displayed to the right of the graph.  You can also filter results by genre (comedy, news, current events, etc) as well as channel (NBC, CBS, ABC, etc).

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It may surprise you to know that Twitter led Facebook in television mentions over the past few months.   The same search on Google Trends shows Facebook dominating the micro-blogging service in web traffic.  Granted, we’re comparing apples to oranges (and there are a number of factors that could affect that data), but the idea here is to get a well-rounded view of the trends and keywords that affect your business.  This means looking outside the online box.

You can easily add SnapStream TV Trends data to your website by grabbing the embed code found under each trending graph.

SnapStream is not a real-time service, but it's pretty close. The service updates results every half hour and only if a program has completed it's run (i.e. it doesn't include programs that are still on air).

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