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Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Searchable State of the Union 2011

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Did you set your DVR last night? At SnapStream, we made sure to. (If you tuned in live, kudos to you. 26.1 million others did too.)

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans.”

President Obama commenced his second State of the Union speech, addressing the congregation in the rich oral tradition of his predecessors.

The President spoke for just over an hour, in what commentators considered broad strokes, focusing on the nation’s bright future with optimism instead of renegotiating issues of recent years past.

Here, let’s pull up the recording. And grab the transcript to download in seconds.

Now, you could also search by keyword, to skip to the topics which interest you. Perhaps it’s healthcare that gets your blood pumping, or job creation that perks your ears up.

For now, we’ll take a look at the overall themes by copying and pasting the televised transcript (courtesy of SnapStream) into a word-cloud creator called Wordle.

Note: While the State of the Union address is easily accessible to the public all over the Internet, this is not the case for the majority of broadcast content, which is where SnapStream comes into play. For our intents, this is a timestamped example.

[Applause] occurred frequently throughout the speech. There was no booing last night across the partisan aisle. One could infer that Democrat, Republican and Tea Party members stood united after the recent Tuscon tragedy involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, among others.

To leave you with something further, the American Presidency Project has a unique historical resource to explore. It lists the length of every State of the Union Message and Address, by word count, dating back to George Washington in 1790.

Visit SnapStream’s government page.

TV Trends Takes Pulse of the Nation Through #Election Week

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

As media outlets were buzzing yesterday about midterm elections, we were closely tracking what was mentioned on major television networks here at SnapStream headquarters.

Since we’re a television search and monitoring company, we employ our own  SnapStream Servers to record U.S. national TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, CNN and HLN) and provide insights into what is said on U.S. television. On big news days, like an election night, we gather all the closed-captioning data and run the numbers to distinguish the overarching news trends.

From SnapStream’s aggregated television data, clear-cut trends emerge about the nation’s pulse during this pivotal midterm election, which serves as a forecasting indicator of the political climate stirring for the 2012 Presidential Election.

Based on over 60,000 hours of recorded television, freely accessible to anyone at tvtrends.com, we find a heavily evident media focus on the Republican Party and a direct correlation with the outcome of Tuesday’s balloting. As Democrats’ majority in Congress slipped, so did their rate and frequency of national news coverage.

Several approximations are used when computing results, such as how many mentions occur per unique hour. To determine the “hot” and “cold” measure of certain words or topics, we use an equation to calculate a frequency score that’s normalized to the number of hours of TV recorded on any given day.

Absolute, raw mentions
10/30 – 11/3
Hot TV Trends
Nov. 2, 2010
Hot TV Trends
Nov. 3, 2010
“Election” returns 767 mentions
“Voters” returns 359 mentions
“Republicans” returns 308 mentions
“Republican” returns 212 mentions
“Race” returns 213 mentions
“Races” returns 195 mentions
“Democrat” returns 61 mentions
“Tea Party” returns 53 mentions
1. Election
2. To the polls
3. The Republicans
4. Voters
5. Races
6. Lisa Murkowski
7. Race
8. The Republican
1. The Republicans
2. Races
3. Election
4. Race
5. In the senate
6. The Republican
7. To the polls
8. Zahra

An overview of keyword frequency across news channels, in descending order:

On the word “election,
1. CNN
2. FOX News
3. MSNBC
4. HLN
5. ABC
On the word “republican(s),”
1. MSNBC
2. FOX News
3. CNN
4. ABC
5. HLN
On the word “democrat,”
1. FOX News
2. MSNBC
3. CNN
4. HLN
5. ABC

SnapStream TV Trends aims to provide insights into what is said on U.S. television. Updates occur every half hour and data is shown once the show is complete. To customize your own TV Trend search, visit http://www.snapstream.com/tvtrends.

TV Search in Politics: House Race 2010

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

In case you missed the vital information contained in this webinar, watch the House of Representatives webinar on SnapStream’s YouTube channel.
_ _

With midterm elections* around the corner, and all 435 of the House seats up for grabs, the news media will continue to play a critical role in shaping public opinion. As candidates are preparing to hit the ground running on their campaign trails, we’re hosting a webinar this Thursday, July 22 to address the political advantage of TV search for tracking issues, competition and appearances.

The reality is, between now and November 2, candidates who practice proactive media relations (as opposed to reactive) will have increasingly better odds at sweeping victory over their districts.

To control messaging and earn the public’s confidence, parties with take-charge leadership will capitalize on the media as a direct channel to reach their constituents. The public relations route leads to organic credibility that complements the value of sponsored ads.

Now, this might sound like a no-brainer for political strategy, but you’d be surprised to learn how many people aren’t maximizing on this in a smart way. Paying for a clipping service or subjecting interns to full-time TiVo duty–probably not doing your cause much justice.

Alternatively, we’ve seen this formula work for our TV-hungry customers across city, state and federal government:

1) Dedicate a SnapStream Server to a trusty staff
2) Instantly search, clip and record TV
3) Launch game-changing campaign tactics

Sign up for our webinar to learn how to:
• Search by keyword across news networks
• Pinpoint mentions in seconds
• Create clips and download transcripts
• Receive real-time TV alerts
• Gain competitive intelligence
• Verify advertising
• Monitor public appearances
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*Also up for election: 36 United States Senate seats and 37 out of the 50 United States Governors seats.

Visualizing The State of the Union

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

State of the Union Word Cloud

As my team is in the field showing off our ability to search television for mentions of interest, we occasionally field questions about the variety of applications for the data. In general, SnapStream customers are able to search, clip and distribute content of interest from a single user interface. Using closed captioning, SnapStream brings a user directly to any mention of interest within a recorded broadcast. Occasionally, especially in a University or Public Relations setting, the topic turns to statistical analysis. While our solution does not currently offer a statistical engine, the data is easily exported for analysis.

Politics aside, I have downloaded the closed-caption text from Wednesday night’s (January 27, 2010) State of the Union. Using the word cloud creator at Wordle.net, I quickly created the above symbolic representation of the speech. The 75-minute speech generated over 7,000 words, of which, the top 200 are represented in the cloud. Wordle.net has the option to remove “common” words – looks to be mostly prepositions, conjunctions and pronouns – to get at the meat of the text . The more appearances a word makes in the text, the larger the word is portrayed in the cloud. The top five words from the speech were People, Americans, Year, Jobs and Work. The overall process took less than 5 minutes – in fact, it took considerably less time than creating this post. ;-)
For customers that are currently using our television search solution, here is a guide to the process. First, locate the video content by searching (or browsing, in this case) within the user interface. If the topic of interest is short, you can use the clipping feature to “trim” down the Closed Caption transcript – when clipping video, SnapStream automatically trims the closed caption transcript as well, so the clip is also searchable. Browse the library for the show or clip, and instead of playing the file, choose “Download Transcript” from the about program page. A dialog will open asking where you want to save the text file of the transcript. The only massaging required is to remove the timestamps, which can be done in any text editor. Copy the text to Wordle.net’s create engine and sit back to admire your work.

How did we learn of this capability? Interestingly enough, a customer turned us on to the ability during last years election. Ultimately, the goal was statistical analysis of candidate speeches – the cloud representation was just a by-product.  We are never ceased to be amazed at the uses customers find for our products.

Using TV Search to get Laughs

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Below is a prime example of our TV search technology. The writers of E!’s The Soup did a simple search on the word ‘Twitter’, and were able to pinpoint and clip out all the mentions of Twitter on TV to create a montage of ‘Twittermania’.

For an in depth look of our search feature read our previous blog post Feature Spotlight: Advanced TV Search.

How Elected Officials Enhance their Media Monitoring Efforts

Friday, June 5th, 2009

congressblogimage

Join us for our web seminar (June 23rd, 2:30 PM CST) specific for the communications offices of elected officials, and learn how your office can leverage TV content to interact with your constituents in a more responsive and efficient way.

Many government officials across the country are currently using SnapStream to aid them with television media monitoring. They are able to simultaneously record news channels (including CSPAN, CNN, Fox News, etc.) plus any internal cable TV feeds 24×7 and then search the closed-caption text for keyword mentions to keep track of legislation issues and media appearances. And with the relaxation of the Franking Rules this past January, they can now take advantage of SnapStream’s clipping feature to increase their online video presence by uploading video clips to their YouTube, House or Senate page.

SnapStream is currently used in the offices of elected officials to:

  • Track TV mentions of officials, staff and legislation
  • Create clips for online distribution
  • Distribute TV using the existing office network
  • Record & search thousands of hours of TV
  • Eliminate manual search of video tapes and clipping fees

When compared to TiVos/DVRs, VCRs or clipping services, SnapStream provides dramatic improvements in cost and convenience.

Event: How Elected Officials Enhance their Media Monitoring Efforts
When: June 23rd, 2009; 2:30 CST

Sign me Up!

SnapStream gets namecheck’ed at Republican tech event

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

In this article on Slate.com by Christopher Beam, it’s mentioned that SnapStream got a nice shout-out at the Republican Party’s Tech Summit last week:

A woman named Carrie Pickett says Republicans should get hip to Snapstream, a program that lets you flag and record anything that appears on TV, like Google news alerts for video. So anytime a candidate is mentioned, they automatically have the footage.

Our product saw a bit of usage in this last election cycle, including now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and popular blogs “The Jed Report” and “Daily Kos”, so it’s cool to see that the word is spreading.

But I have one question… who is Carrie Pickett?  I’d love to know where she heard about us — if  you know who she is, please e-mail me or leave a comment here. (Yes, this feels a bit like a Craigslist Missed Connection)

Feature Spotlight: ShowSqueeze

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

SnapStream’s ShowSqueeze lets you separately recompress any standard-definition (SD) or high-definition (HD) recording to either Windows Media (.wmv) or H.264. These formats offer the same great recording quality as the other formats in a fraction of the space. And when you’re recording thousands of hours of television, this can be particularly useful.

So, let’s say you’re recording at Fair Quality (2 mbps), by automatically ShowSqueezing all programs as they’re recorded to a Windows Media file (667 kb/s), a server that once could hold 2000 hours of television can now hold over 6000 hours of television.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. In the SnapStream Web interface home page, go to settings. Choose ShowSqueeze from the list of options.

showsqueeze12

2. In the ShowSqueeze settings menu, you’ll see the option to Automatically ShowSqueeze all recordings (either all SD shows, all HD shows or all shows (SD and HD)). In this example, we’ve chosen to compress the files to the default Windows Media setting at Fair Quality (667 kb/s).

showsqueeze22

3. Your program will immediately be compressed (or if you choose, can be scheduled for a later time). Once the compression is done, you’ll see it in your list of recorded programs again.

showsqueeze32

That’s it. The ShowSqueezed clip is now ready to download or email. This particular program went from 3.27GB (it was originally recorded in Best quality at 8mbps) to .7GB, compressing it to about 25% of its original size (the Windows Media file setting in that example is 667 kb/s).

So, Automatic ShowSqueeze is especially useful if you are recording a number of channels 24/7, as many SnapStream TV Server customers do. In that case, you can even set your SnapStream Server to automatically compress programs:

  • At a global level (i.e., everything you record)
  • Just certain channels (i.e., channels you record 24/7) or
  • Just certain programs (i.e., one particular episode of CNN, as in the example above)

To maximize bandwidth usage, you can also schedule the compression to take place after business hours, for example, from 2-4 am. Keep in mind, ShowSqueezing takes server processing power, so you have to strike the right balance between space and processing power to get the best use of the server’s processor in the quest for more space.  For questions or more details, please contact your Sales Rep or Enterprise Technical support.


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