Category Archives: Ratings Analysis

Let me show you how French Coffee makes your brain happier (and other statistical lies)

Lies, damned lies and statistics (about TEDTalks)

In a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek analysis, Sebastian Wernicke turns the tools of statistical analysis on TEDTalks, to come up with a metric for creating “the optimum TEDTalk” based on user ratings. How do you rate it? “Jaw-dropping”? “Unconvincing”? Or just plain “Funny”?

[download tedPad here]

Share it with your friends or comment below. You can also continue the conversation on Google+.

New Google Analytics Reporting Features

Google Analytics has implemented a number of new features (which you may or may not see in your account yet, since they are in beta). I haven’t had the chance to play around with them, but this is what they look like:

The Advanced Segments tool allows you to filter your reports by up to four pre-designed or custom segments:

Top Content - Google Analytics

This is what the Custom Segment creator looks like:

Create Advanced Segment - Google Analytics

Once you select your segments, you’ll get a detailed report:

Google Analytics - Advanced Segments

The final new feature I found is Customized Reports, allowing you to quickly look at the data you find important – for instance, how your keywords are performing in a particular market:

Create Custom Report - Google Analytics

Google has published this short video, explaining how to build a Custom Report. Watch it to get an idea of how powerful these new tools are.

With this newfound flexibility, Google Analytics bridges the gap to more expensive analytics solutions.
Need help installing, running or analyzing your website’s analytics? Drop me a line…

5 Mindset Shifts Every Media Executive Needs to Make

Media executives thinking about distributing their content online (and they all should) need to make important mindset shifts in order to understand what the digital revolution is all about, how it affects their business and what benefits it can bring to their operation.

I’ve outlined five mindset shifts every media executive needs to make:

1. Digital Is Your Battleground

OLD: We sell advertising space on television and throw in a bonus on our internet properties.

NEW: We sell advertising space on our Internet properties and throw a bonus on our television network.

Drastic? Yes! But you need to start thinking this way if you want to understand where your company is headed. Digital content distribution will eventually be your main revenue stream.

You need to start thinking digital:

  • Have all your content ready in digital formats suitable for distribution via downloads, podcasts, iTunes, streaming and cellphones.
  • Convert your advertising rates to digital format and train your sales people in the new lingo: figure out how much you charge per minute per thousand viewers and use this as a starting point.
  • Think about how you’ll monetize your shows online and plan accordingly: pre-roll, mid-roll, banners, page sponsors, and subscriptions are all valid.

2. Engagement Is The New Rating

OLD: What matter is the size of our audience.

NEW: What matters is how engaged our audiences are.

You’re used to thinking about how many million viewers your shows garner. You need to start thinking about how many ways your shows intersect with your viewers’ lives. Study Lost and look up how many online communities have grown around the show.

Let your audiences interface with your content. Make it shareable in a way that lets you track views and advertising. Turn your content into a social object. Make it either:

  • part of the conversation,
  • a conversation starter, or
  • a gathering place.

If you’re creating content for TV or film, plan ahead and create additional content for digital distribution: side stories, character background, games, behind-the-scenes footage. There’s only so much you can tell in a one-hour show… develop your story online.

Don’t be afraid to listen to your audience, or to talk to them.

3. Your Earnings Will Come From Elsewhere

OLD: How are we going to make money online?

NEW: How are we going to make money if we don’t go online?

Of course you need to make money. And enough people have lost their shirts online to make even the bolder ones worry (think of them as the pioneers, with the arrows stuck on their backs). But look at it as an investment… just like you invested in HD technology, Beta SP, Nielsen reports and new studios: make a business plan, plan a strategy, hire a consultant, set-up a team, start small, think big, or not. Your current market is shrinking, it’s time to look elsewhere.

4. There Are More Than 24 Hours In A Day, There’s More Than One Distribution Channel

OLD: We deliver content 24 hrs a day on one channel.

NEW: We deliver unlimited content via unlimited distribution channels.

Forget about a 24-hour day. You now have access to unlimited audiences willing to watch any content at any time. Many of them are even willing to consume multiple content simultaneously. The programming grid is a thing of the past. You still need to offer quality content, but when it’s always 5pm somewhere, the meaning of prime-time changes.

5. What You Think You Know About Your Audience No Longer Applies

OLD: We must adapt our programming to our audience.

NEW: We can distribute any content to any number of audiences.

Want to create a news show, a sports channel or a cooking network? Why not all of them? If you’re a general programming station. think niches. If you’re a niche-content producer, think multiple niches. You have the know-how and production capability, you don’t need to constrain yourself to one particular audience. Experiment with old content, new content, new versions of old content, old versions of new content… it’s the Internet, there’s an audience for anything.

What do you think?

(Disponible en español en

Lookout MySpace, here comes Facebook

This is the first article of a series I’ll call GoogleTrending, where I use Google Trends to compare search terms and come to usually preposterous conclusions based on the trend charts. I hope you enjoy it. Share your favorite trend comparisons -or suggest ideas for new posts- using the comments form below.

MySpace seems to be losing steam as Facebook skyrockets. Facebook should surpass MySpace as a search destination by the end of the year.

Click on the image to open the actual search on Google Trends.

GoogleTrending: MySpace vs. Facebook

NBC Drops YouTube

Last week, NBC pulled the plug on its very successful YouTube channel. The following TubeMogul chart, shows NBC’s views dropped to zero on October 19th. NBC’s YouTube page no longer exists.

The reason? NBC is launching their own video distribution network, Hulu.

Is this a smart move? I understand NBC wanting to control (read: monetize) the distribution of their content, but NBC’s YouTube channel was all about promotion (and I’m sure they could’ve played with video ads there as well). With the move, NBC has left millions of viewers in the dark – just like that. If Hulu was ready to go, I might understand the move (although, how are YouTube viewers supposed to figure out the content is now at Hulu?)… but the fact is that Hulu is still in private beta, closed to the general public.

In any case, NBC should have kept their YouTube channel and used it to publicize their Hulu service, that way maximizing YouTube’s promotional aspect. YouTube is limited to 10-minute long clips, while Hulu will supposedly host full length content as well.

Hulu needs to work amazingly well from the start. In addition to good content in the proper formats, it’ll need to offer:

  • a positive user experience (usability, reliability)
  • social networking tools
  • sharing and embedding
  • no buffering problems
  • a stable server farm that won’t buckle under the huge user load
  • bearable ads

What do you think? Was pulling the plug on YouTube a good move? Does Hulu have a chance?

NBC’s escape from YouTube was chronicled around the web:

Online Video: NBC pulls YouTube channel

Could this move be a sign that Hulu, scheduled for “private beta” testing this month, is finally ready?

The Facts About NBC (GE) on YouTube, Hulu, and iTunes* – Silicon Alley Insider

Also, read Silicon Alley Insider’s take on Hulu’s exclusivity deal with NBC.

NBC’s YouTube Channel Goes M.I.A. on Epicenter

…the real question is whether or not viewers will feel comfortable leaving YouTube to view NBC’s shorter clips on the new site. If pulling the plug on its YouTube channel without warning is how NBC is going to roll, then it’s not looking good.

US TV – News – NBC pulls content from YouTube – Digital Spy

An NBC spokeswoman confirmed promotional content would no longer be available on YouTube. She said it was “not antagonistic” but a move designed to support Hulu.

She said NBC still might put promotional content on YouTube “as we see fit”. The network was not “closing the door” on anybody, she added.

NBC Leaves YouTube

Is NBC putting too much stock in their own service? They offered video clips for free on YouTube even when iTunes sold complete versions of the same episodes. I assumed the logic was that you could see a clip for free on YouTube and then decide to purchase the episode over on iTunes. Between the two monster services, NBC was getting wide exposure. Now pulling videos from both for their own service seems like a step in the wrong direction. No exposure, other than stories like this stating why the move has been done.

Big Media vs. YouTube & Google: Smart or Not? « GigaOM

It is my belief that these companies are in the business of content, not distribution. Offering their content on their own properties may give them a lift in terms of page views, but at the same time they also run the risk of losing the audience that simply seeks out such content on sites such as YouTube.

NBC Confirms Pulling YouTube Content for Hulu « NewTeeVee

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Content-centric Communities

Bernard Lunn, at Read/WriteWeb wrote an interesting article about the failure of Eons.

Eons is a social networking website aimed at the over-fifty crowd, headed by the founder of job-site After raising $32M, Eons is now cutting it’s workforce in half – not exactly a measure of success.

In his article, Lunn touches a point I’ve been making for a long time: people gather around content, not around demographic variables (see “The Advertiser’s Dilemma”, “Rethinking Ratings” and “Why Google Should Buy YouTube” for my previous articles on content-centric ratings analysis).

Lunn think the problem lies in Eons’ strategy to connect people around age, a traditional demographic variable, and not around content or common interests. He’s hit the nail squarely on the head:

“…people want to connect around content, not around age. Connecting around content is what Blogs do. You connect on something that interests you. (…) As you get older, you get a more varied set of interests and human relationships across all ages.”

Age/Sex/Location is not a social network

Demographic variables allow advertisers and their clients to easily target their products to artificial segments of the population that probably have very little else in common, other than age/sex/location. In a small-town-world these variables may have been good enough to create desirable advertising targets, but we now live in a connected world where people of all ages and genders interact and share common interests on a scale seldom seen before.

And while you can still use demographic variables to target your product, you’d be missing a much more interesting target, one capable of creating die-hard fans and viral awareness of your product, by ignoring content-centric connections.

As for social networks, look at the successful ones and the “glue” that keeps them together:

Building a social network around content will not magically make it successful, just like putting wings on a box won’t make it fly; but those wings sure help once you put the rest of the airplane together.

The Content-centric Connectivity Chart

The following chart is an example of how people of different ages, genders and cultural backgrounds gather around common interests (caveat: networks are not drawn to scale, connections do not attempt to imply actual traffic for these sites, and age/gender/race were limited by the avatar icons I could find on the net).

Content-Centric communities chart

The Content-centric Connectivity chart highlights two key ideas:

  • Successful networks are built around content, not around demographics.
  • There’s a huge opportunity for anyone who learns how to target their products around content-centric communities.


There will always be products that need to be targeted around demographic variables (e.g., feminine products, some toys, acne-medication, denture products), but the opportunities and tools for expanding your product’s appeal have never been this good.