Fizziology helps TV networks determine how much people like a TV show

By Natan Edelsburg 

There’s a new social TV analytics company on the loose. Fizziology “uses human sentiment analysis – real people reading social media chatter from real people – to let networks know which new fall TV shows are driving the most positive and negative buzz online.” Here’s how they’re using humans for social TV analytics and why TV networks are starting to buy in.

On their website Fizziology describes how they work in TV:

Traditional ratings only tell part of the audience story in today’s television landscape. Fizziology has unique products – including Social Density – designed to help content creators, distributors and advertisers better understand the rapidly changing world of television. Our ability to slice the social conversation in the US against all 210 DMAs makes it an invaluable tool for accurate audience analytics.


We spoke to co-creators Ben Carlson and Jen Handley about their product, which they’ve recently expanded to the UK.

Lost Remote: What is Fizziology?
Ben Carlson and Jen Handley: Fizziology provides actionable business insight to the entertainment industry using the world’s biggest, fastest, most honest focus group – social media. We use human sentiment analysis to track conversations in the big three of social media (Twitter, Facebook and blogs). With our background in advertising, we have a unique lens on the research we provide – always looking for what’s actionable and what’s marketable. We’ve been tracking the film industry for three years now and are increasingly working in the TV and brand space.

LR: What gap does Fizziology fill?
Carlson and Handley: We can tell networks, producers, sales teams and advertisers how engaged audiences are. Unlike ratings, which only measure eyeballs, we’re able to determine how much people like and dislike a show, what lines and characters are sticking the most, how the show compares against other similar shows and how advertising is affecting a brand’s lift. We can do this nationally, or on a DMA-by-DMA basis.

There are thin social analytics platforms that use keyword algorithms to determine volume and sentiment (roughly), but not much more. And there are social tv platforms that can tell you how many people checked in to watch a show, and what they’re saying amongst that specific group of people. We take a much more comprehensive approach to more holistically measure sentiment and engagement for a show and its brands.

LR: How does the Fizziology process work?
Carlson and Handley: We pull feeds from Twitter’s firehose and the APIs of Facebook and a blog aggregator into our proprietary system. What’s especially unique to Fizziology is that we use real people, not a keyword algorithm, to analyze conversation and determine if sentiment is positive, negative or neutral. Using human sentiment analysis, we’re able to process sarcasm, slang and misspellings, weed out irrelevant conversation and unearth deeper insights – like conversation drivers or audience analysis – that would otherwise be missed by an automated keyword search.

We’re focused on entertainment, so our analysts have an understanding of the landscape and what’s working/not working for competitors. Our marketing backgrounds allow us to boil the research down to actions the client can take.

LR: Tell us about your recent expansion to the U.K. What is Fizziology doing across the pond?
Carlson and Handley: We created our own three-layered approach to breaking down geography, factoring language, self-reported location (using a database we’ve created of thousands of combinations, because not many people make it as easy as “London, England”) and time zone. We felt that the U.K. was an obvious market to move into. For them, measuring social conversation meant measuring all of the English language, and they haven’t been able to accurately triangulate conversation to date.

We’re currently working with studios to analyze U.K.-based conversation for their movies to tell them things like how it’s comparing against others, what lines and scenes are breaking out, and what their biggest threats are. This is increasingly important as studios are releasing more movies same-day internationally.

For TV, we’re in pilot programs analyzing conversation around shows to help production and distribution teams. Since the business of television in the U.K. is so different from the U.S., understanding the show’s strengths and weaknesses from a production and marketing perspective are key.

LR: Does Fizziology work with any TV networks or brands?
Carlson and Handley: We don’t disclose our client roster, but yes, we currently work with a wide range of brands, agencies and entertainment studios.