Twitter has reportedly spent big on acquiring social media analytics startup BlueFin Labs.
Twitter is shelling out $70m for the firm, reports All Things D. If it's true - we've asked Twitter, but it has yet to reply - it would overshadow the site's biggest buy to date: Tweetdeck, for $40m.
BlueFin Labs' speciality is "social TV analytics", which looks at how much TV shows are talked about on social media and what bits are discussed, offering both programme-makers and advertisers feedback on how people react to what they view.
The purchase shows Twitter is betting on analytics as a revenue stream as well as straight-out advertising.
Twitter reportedly expects to generate $1bn in revenue in 2013, almost all from advertising. The likely profits of the private company are unknown, but $70m is a significant investment.
The buy shows another key tech company poking around TV and its lucrative advertising market: Apple, Microsoft, Google are already making tentative moves into the sector.
Born out of MIT's Media Lab, BlueFin Labs' analytics tech was invented as part of a life-casting experiment, when scientists tried to work out how children learn to speak by recording all spoken interaction with a baby. The upstart is using "deep machine learning" to help its data-crunching robots understand the meaning of words in their semantic context. They now apply it to social media content to gauge reactions to TV shows.
The buy would put Twitter in competition with its former analytics research collaborator Nielsen. ®