Datacopter – a NixonMcInnes product – visualising & measuring conversation

I’m very proud to have been involved in the development of Datacopter, a product which is the baby of my colleague Steve, who runs the Applied Technology practice at NixonMcInnes.

As per our marketing blurb “Datacopter turns the online conversation around TV programmes into bespoke, interactive experiences, visualising, encouraging and measuring second screen engagement.”

In essence Datacopter visualises the conversation in any number of ways.  You can see what the top keywords are at any one time:

What the ‘velocity’ or ‘tweetrate’ of the conversation is – how thick and fast the tweets are coming in:

The key themes and how they dominate the conversation over time:

There are many more ways Datacopter can analyse and visualise the data,  some of which aren’t developed yet – the limit is design and imagination.

The first outing (or should I say flight?) of Datacopter was for the Channel 4 project detailed in my last post, a live budget debate with an online game integration on Dispatches, How to save £100billion Live.  See Steve’s blog post about building it here.

We have also used Datacopter to look at the conversation around the final Big Brother launch night, which was actually  before the first outing and more of a test internally and proof of concept.  I was at home running and screencasting Datacopter on my laptop, while watching the launch and it really was fascinating.  Seeing in real time an aggregated feed of real opinion of people on Twitter of the contestants.  Rather than just the river of random thoughts you might see following a keyword or hashtag on Twitter Search, Datacopter really showed the collective consciousness in a snapshot, showing the top 5 keywords at any one time about that contestant or point in the live programme.  What was also fascinating was seeing the velocity of tweets shoot up within the first 30 seconds of the first ad break.  This ad break was also the most expensive piece of ad real estate on Channel 4 in that whole year, and I can’t help but thinking that the insight of tweeting behaviour could have informed the ad creative in an exciting way.

We’re currently working on a Datacopter instance for Channel 4 for a Drama which is airing in February, which is an interesting new challenge.  Typically, we have used Datacopter on Live event TV, which makes sense as it visualises conversation in real time.  This drama is over a four week period, with 4 episodes, so conversation is going to happen over a different sense of time and space to live event TV.  The drama also poses a challenge in that it’s going to be quite controversial as it tackles a particular political issue in a controversial way, so the design challenge we had was to represent the conversation in a fair, balanced way without manipulating what we show but also without the debate overshadowing other conversation about the drama itself.  I can’t wait to show you more, but for now, watch this space… or watch out for something on Channel 4 early Feb.

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