SnapStream Blog

Experimenting with visualizing TV news (and comedy)

September 09 2008 by Rakesh

Matthew Ericson at the New York Times did a really cool visualization last week, "The Words They Used", comparing the most frequently used words at the Democratic and Republican Conventions (from the article, "Republicans were more likely to talk about businesses and taxes, while Democrats were more likely to mention jobs or the economy.")

This got me thinking about doing something similar for TV programs. So I did an experiment using the excellent word cloud generator Wordle on transcripts (generated with a single click from a SnapStream TV search appliance for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Fox's The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly last week (the week of the Republican Convention in Minneapolis). The results:

Monday, September 1, 2008

»The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

(there wasn't a new episode on Monday!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

»The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly

»The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

»The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly

»The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Thursday, September 4, 2008

»The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly

»The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Friday, September 5, 2008

»The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly

»The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

A few notes:

  • I didn't remove commercials from the transcripts, so for the commercials that had captioning, those are reflected in the results
  • I removed captioning cues from the transcripts so they didn't skew the results... I'm talking about things like "[Applause and cheering]" (mostly on the Daily Show :-)) and "Jon:" and "Bill:"
  • So what do you think? Are these visualizations interesting? What are your observations? I'm not someone who has a background doing content analysis so hopefully I can get some experts to give me their conclusions.

    The word "actually" on television

    July 28 2008 by Rakesh

    Jeff Jarvis wrote a blog post last week about how he thought the word "actually" was overused on television. Here's the post (he lost a bunch of posts and hasn't restored them all):

    Actually is the new ‘y’know’
    July 19th, 2008, by Jeff Jarvis

    The most overused and unnecessary word on broadcast is “actually.” Start counting how many times it is used by TV people and you’ll hate me for driving you nuts.

    While I’m kvetching, why do TV people introduce a panel of three people and then say, “Mr. Jones, let me start with you.” Just start with him: ask your question. Why this need to warn Mr. Jones?

    Our TV search appliance is used by a number of journalism schools for content analysis (like Emerson College and GWU, so this got me thinking about how we might try and use our product to measure Jeff's assertion about the word actually.

    So here's what I did. I took one week of national TV recordings that we had made on a SnapStream Enterprise TV Server and I did some ad-hoc analysis (remember, I'm not expert on content analysis!) on how frequently the word 'actually' appeared by series and by network.

    Here are the 20 shows that use the word 'actually' the most:

    TV Series 'actually' count / hour
    House Call With Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN) 19.17
    Reliable Sources (CNN) 17.89
    ABC's World News Sunday (ABC) 10.7
    The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC) 10.4
    The Newshour With Jim Lehrer (PBS) 8.68
    Washington Week (PBS) 7.61
    Oprah Winfrey (CBS) 7.35
    Fox And Friends Sunday (FNC) 7.27
    The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS) 7
    20/20 (ABC) 6.82
    CNN Saturday Morning (CNN) 6.13
    American Morning (CNN) 6
    Today (NBC) 5.76
    CNN Special Investigations Unit (CNN) 5.63
    Fox And Friends (FNC) 5.47
    The Colbert Report (COMEDY) 5.4
    At The Movies With Ebert & Roeper (ABC) 5.32
    Dr. Phil (NBC) 5.26
    Kudlow & Company (CNBC) 5.22
    Studio B With Shepard Smith (FNC) 5.07

    And here are the 20 shows that use the word 'actually' the least:

    TV series 'actually' count / hour
    Sportscenter (ESPN) 1.45
    Geraldo At Large (FNC) 1.41
    Nightline (ABC) 1.39
    The Tyra Banks Show (FOX) 1.36
    Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN) 1.33
    The Live Desk (FNC) 1.17
    This Week With George Stephanopoulos (ABC) 0.94
    Baseball Tonight (ESPN) 0.94
    Special Report With Brit Hume (FNC) 0.89
    Bulls And Bears (FNC) 0.89
    This Week In Politics (CNN) 0.79
    Lou Dobbs Tonight (CNN) 0.68
    The Beltway Boys (FNC) 0.59
    Cnn Student News (CNNH) 0
    Fox News Watch (FNC) 0
    Forbes On Fox (FNC) 0
    Hannity'S America (FNC) 0
    Cashin' In (FNC) 0
    Face The Nation (CBS) 0
    Now On PBS (PBS) 0

    And here's a summary of the the word 'actually' by network:

    Channel 'actually' count / hour
    PBS 5.84
    NBC 5.1
    CNBC 4.55
    COMEDY 4.19
    CBS 4.18
    CNN 3.75
    ABC 3.71
    CNNH 3.65
    CSPAN 3.59
    FNC 3.06
    FOX 3.02
    ESPN 1.4

    So at the higher end, offending shows are using the word 'actually' between once every 10 minutes to once every 3 minutes. Since I'm not a content analysis expert, what other trends can you draw? How could the test be improved?

    SnapStream generates buzz at George Washington University

    March 06 2008 by Melissa Kidonakis

    George Washington University’s independent student newspaper, the GW Hatchet, reports on the use of our SnapStream Enterprise product in the School of Media and Public Affairs. The story highlights the impact that SnapStream's television search technology will have at GWU's public policy and journalism schools, making it so that faculty and students can search television broadcasts for educational research and analysis. A few choice quotes:

    Sean Aday, an associate professor at GWU, says:

    "It's a great tool for research. For example, with the recent news about the U.S. embassy in Serbia, we could collect and compare coverage from all the networks. Graduate students, especially in the research methods class, will be able to conduct their own content analysis.”

    Paul Fucito, GWU's director of communications, says:

    "It takes seconds and minutes now to do what took weeks or months. After recording, let's say a month of Andersen Cooper, you can then go back type in relevant keywords, find the clips that apply and watch those segments."

    Article: SMPA acquires TiVo-like technology

    What is SnapStream? There's an unlimited amount of video content out there: 24/7 news channels, breaking news events, sports, talk shows, awards galas, entertainment shows, and so much more.

    SnapStream makes a real-time news and media search engine that makes it fast and easy to find the video moments that support our customers telling great stories.

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