ABC News has extended its partnership with social TV analytics firm Bluefin Labs through next year’s presidential inauguration. ABCNews.com executive producer Ed O’Keefe announced the extension during a Social Media Week panel on Feb. 15.
Bluefin Labs is a social media analytics company backed by Time Warner Ventures and several other top VC firms. The company has quickly established itself as a key source of data in the burgeoning social TV arena.
Starting in December and continuing throughout the recent Republican primary debates, Bluefin Labs has been analyzing social media reactions and valuing candidates’ performances for ABC News. O’Keefe said the values assigned to candidates has “almost perfectly” correlated with major campaign events.
“When Mitt Romney had a bad night [during the Dec. 10 debate] and Newt Gingrich had a very good night, the next morning the intersecting values of their stock totally changed,” he said.
But ABC News doesn’t solely rely on Bluefin Labs’ algorithm to surface social sentiment. Because of the volume of social data and novelty of sentiment analysis, ABC News augments the technology with employees who monitor the analysis.
“We needed some way to regulate that conversation, so we do have a manual level of our experts over the top of the social sentiment market as well,” O’Keefe said.
That social sentiment market is not limited to politics. ABC News is working with Bluefin Labs on a similar initiative tied to the Academy Awards. That Oscars Stock Market program values nominees in six major categories—including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress—based on social sentiment and expert analysis.