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Twitter acquires social TV analytics firm, Bluefin Labs

Twitter on Tuesday announced that it has acquired Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics firm.

Bluefin provides data to brand advertisers, agencies, and TV networks. "We believe that Bluefin's data science capabilities and social TV expertise will help us create innovative new ad products and consumer experiences in the exciting intersection of Twitter and TV," Twitter said in a blog post.

Twitter said the purchase builds on December deal with Nielsen whereby the two companies will team up to deliver reports that monitor TV-related conversations on the micro-blogging site. Nielsen Twitter TV Rating data will start rolling out at the start of the fall 2013 TV season, and will complement Nielsen's existing TV ratings.

Twitter will honour existing Bluefin contracts, but will not enter into any new contracts.

"We plan to collaborate closely with Nielsen and SocialGuide on product development and research to help brands, agencies, and networks fully understand the combined value of Twitter and TV," Twitter said.

Bluefin emerged from the MIT Media Lab as a research project that eventually developed into "the world's first industry-grade analytics platform to link social media commentary with TV shows and commercials at scale," Bluefin said in its own blog post.

"While our products have always included data from multiple social media services, the reality is that Twitter is the platform where the overwhelming majority ­– about 95 per cent – of public real-time engagement with TV happens," the Bluefin founders said. "So we couldn't be more excited to join Twitter."

The Bluefin team will remain in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"As millions of people around the world experienced during Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast, Twitter is an amazing complement to live television viewing," Twitter said. "We look forward to working with Bluefin and our partners in the television industry to make the experience of Twitter and television even better."

Sunday's Super Bowl matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers resulted in 24.1 million game-related tweets.

December stats from Nielsen found that 85 per cent of tablet and smartphone owners use their device while watching TV at least once a month and 40 per cent do so daily.