Weekly Media News Briefing, January 23rd-27th

Michael Hurtig | January 27th, 2012

Nielsen ratings have been the industry standard measure of tv audiences since the Nielsen Company introduced their proprietary television market research service in 1950. Accordingly, advertisers and networks have used these numbers to gauge the success and failure of programming.

Now, as the technology to pinpoint audience sizes and different kinds of viewer engagement explodes, so has market research – and many new companies offering services each with their own take on what constitutes viewer engagement have begun to dot the industry landscape.

One such notable company is BlueFin Labs, founded in 2008, a product of MIT’s Media Lab. BlueFin measures audience engagement across social media to give a better snapshot of audience response to television shows. A video explaining their model is below, take a look to get a better idea of the big picture surrounding the new approach to understanding television audiences.


Data released from CNN this week shows that an average of over 73 million people visited CNN each month through digital devices in 2011.
CNN.com also reported an average of 101.3 million video starts per month last year. According to CNN that makes them the number one brand in digital news with 38% more monthly unique visitors than MSNBC and 187% more than Fox News. via Broadcasting and Cable

Earlier this week, The Nieman Lab reported on a fascinating new product the New York Times is working on. Called ‘Deep Dive’, the product is being designed to offer a context-driven news experience for readers, in which an article is outfitted with relevant articles previously produced by the times, adding depth. More on this at the Nieman Lab

Americans are still reading, but it seems they prefer eBooks. Pew says that this past holiday season, the number of Americans who owned eBooks doubled.  And a new publishing house will release romance novels, but solely in an electronic imprint.  The rotating rack of cheap paperbacks at the drug store may just be replaced by an app on your phone, or on the Kindle or the nook, which Barnes & Noble is considering spinning off into its own company.  With 60% of this year’s Best Picture nominees based on books, there is no doubt that publishing is still a vital part of America’s cultural output.