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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Twitter Buys a Referee in the Fight Over Online TV Chatter

The hottest fight in social media right now is between Twitter and Facebook over which platform is a better host for online conversation â€" and advertising â€" around live television shows. Both companies are vying to convince consumer brands to run ads targeted at users who are chatting online about popular TV shows while they are airing.

Now, Twitter has just bought one of the referees of this competition.

Twitter said Wednesday that it has purchased Trendrr, which was one of the leading independent firms analyzing the real-time conversation on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for television channels seeking insights into what audiences were saying online.

It was Twitter’s second big purchase of a social TV analysis firm. In February, it acquired Bluefin Labs, which has since become the backbone of its Amplify program, which works with advertisers and TV channels to hit a show’s fans on Twitter with ads that reinforce the commercials they are seeing on TV.

Trendrr made headlines last month with a study that found that Facebook was the host to five times as much chatter around television shows as all the other social platforms combined, with particular strength in network TV and Spanish-language shows.

That was not exactly surprising, given that Facebook has far more users than any other social network. But Facebook and Trendrr promoted the study, which was done at Facebook’s behest, since it was the first time that the big daddy of social media had shared detailed data about the TV-related conversation occurring on its platform.

“This is the start of an exciting relationship between Facebook and Trendrr,” Trendrr wrote at the time. “The potential development of an open system for accurate measurement of the entire Facebook platform will provide our clients and the larger Social TV ecosystem with more insights and tools to make better decisions.”

On Wednesday, Trendrr made it clear that its dalliance with Facebook was over.

“What makes Twitter uniquely compelling among these platforms is its connection to the live moment â€" people sharing what’s happening, when it’s happening, to the world,” the company’s chief executive, Mark Ghuneim, wrote in the blog post announcing the sale of his company. “We think we can help amplify even stronger the power of that connection to the moment inside of Twitter.

Twitter, which declined to disclose how much it paid for Trendrr, plans to shut down that firm’s research division and focus on its Curatorr product, which helps TV channels sift through the flood of Twitter comments about their shows and find the best ones to highlight on screen or in advertising.

No word yet on whether Trendrr’s spelling idiosyncrasies will induce Twitter to make any changes to its name. Twittr anyone?