Nielsen Acquires Social Guide

At right, Sean Casey of Social Guide, speaks on analytics panel at Social TV Summit on Nov. 8

The news that Nielsen is acquiring Social Guide flashed through Twitter and the #socialTV community on Monday as the deal was announced with an early-morning press release.

SocialGuide Mentions

Screen grab of analytics charting mentions of "social guide" through midnight Monday.

Brooklyn-based Social Guide, launched in 2011, is merging into New York-based NM Incite, the two-year-old Nielsen and McKinsey & Co. joint venture offering social media technology and consulting services for C-Suite marketers.

Sean Casey

Sean Casey of Social Guide

“We’re very excited about the direction this deal will take SG,” Sean Casey, founder and CEO of the company, told Social TV Daily in an e-mail Monday afternoon.

“There is no greater opportunity to establish industry metrics and standards in social TV than bringing Nielsen, NM Incite and Social Guide together. We are incredibly excited to work together and bring TV networks the next level of measurement,” Casey said in a statement.

The deal may well signal the start of a consolidation and also the maturing of the emerging social TV analytics sector that includes New York-based Trendrr and Networked Insights, and Cambridge, Mass.-based Bluefin Labs. Casey joined executives from the other analytics firms on a panel at the Social TV Summit in New York on Nov. 8 but gave no inkling of the deal, which was surely in its final stages.

With all those companies potentially on the table for merger or acquisition, Nielsen, the TV measurement colossus, gobbled up this 6-employee startup financed in 2011 with $1.5 million from angel investors led by Alex Zubillaga, former head of digital strategy at Warner Music. Financial details of Nielsen’s Social Guide acquisition were not disclosed.

“The skyrocketing adoption and use of social media among consumers is transforming TV-watching into a more immediate and shared experience. As TV networks see this phenomenon unfold, they require understanding of the impact of social TV on their programming, ratings and advertising effectiveness,” Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen, said in a statement.

This deal is the first acquisition under the leadership of Andrew Somosi, who was named chief executive for NM Incite in July. Somosi previously was SVP, marketing, for privately held Lattice Engines of San Mateo, Calif., a data analytics provider. He is a former associate principal at McKinsey and holds a Wharton MBA.

“The opportunity in social TV is too big to ignore and there is a need for standard metrics and research to uncover the effect of social TV on programming and advertising strategies,” said Somosi in a statement.

This acquisition augments the TV ratings measurement system the company started in the 1950s that now faces social-media headwinds in the rapidly changing second-screen world of the 21st century. Still Nielsen is a popular and desirable partner. Last month, Twitter announced a partnership with Nielsen to offer Twitter stream-based surveys on behalf of brands. In 2011, Nielsen and Facebook entered an agreement to measure Facebook ad campaigns.

Casey, a veteran web developer and a TV writer and producer, started Social Guide a year and a half ago. He led a virtual team of developers to create the website, as well as mobile apps and the rest of the technology infrastructure.

In a profile in the South Brooklyn Post in 2011, Casey may have foreshadowed the future when he explained the value of Twitter and social TV to his interviewer: ““The networks can see their live audience as the show is airing.”

Social Guide tracks thousands of TV shows aired weekly in the US, in English and Spanish, and filters millions of conversations on Twitter to offer a real-time view into the social-media conversation around TV shows, showing top tweeters and the show’s share of the social conversation — as determined by its proprietary analytics. Social Guide also  has a B2B offering — SGI or SocialGuide Intelligence, an analytics and engagement platform.

On Monday, Social Guide was already integrated into NM Incite’s website as a link. Of course, as in any acquisition, the hard work is the integration and many fail.


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