Thursday, October 14, 2010, 9:16 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondAfter 2 months of beta, this morning Critical Mention is introducing the 4.0 version of CriticalTV, its broadcast TV and radio intelligence platform, which captures and digitizes 24/7 streams from over 1,000 media sources on 4 continents (including all 210 U.S. TV markets). The streams are then indexed and instantly searchable by clients. Critical's CEO Sean Morgan gave me a demo of CriticalTV 4.0's new features earlier this week which impressively expose broadcast assets for online/mobile use.
Sean explained that Critical has activated 240 data centers that are now ingesting a whopping 27 hours of media every 60 seconds. In effect Critical is digitally capturing an encyclopedia of TV and radio news around the clock. The real secret sauce to CriticalTV though are the tools it gives to its 600+ mostly PR and corporate communications clients to monitor, mine and flexibly distribute the broadcast assets that are uniquely valuable to them.
In the demo we simulated that we were the Redbox team monitoring Redbox and Netflix media coverage. By entering search terms like "Redbox" and "Netflix" in the new advanced search UI we were instantly given a listing of most recent broadcast mentions. CriticalTV exposes the results with a thumbnail image and an accompanying text transcript. New in 4.0 is "WordPlay" video editing which allows you to select which words in the transcript you want to mark the beginning and ending of the video clip. That means no more editing with in and out points that need to be constantly tweaked to get quite right (if you've done any video editing you know the kind of time that will be saved as a result).
When the video clip is created, you can also easily capture a new thumbnail image you prefer to the default first frame. Now you can save the clip to your preferred folders where you can create reports including playlists and titles. Clips are ready to be embedded in web pages or they can be distributed to mobile devices with a built-in video encoding feature for iPhone, iPad and Android. You can also quickly burn a DVD of clips for the senior executive on the run prepping for his/her next public appearance. CriticalTV even estimates the dollar value of the mention, based on local data.
For those tasked with day-in-day-out monitoring, the new report-building features are key. It's possible to use a new "mention meter" that captures share of voice for up to 4 keywords. Pre-set alerts can populate customized landing pages. And email alert schedules for new mentions can be set on desired time intervals (e.g. once/day, twice/week, etc.) or delivered via RSS.
Taken together, CriticalTV 4.0 is a highly flexible, productive tool for communications professionals to monitor the broadcast ecosystem and then leverage online and mobile distribution to share with colleagues and other constituencies. It's a pretty vivid illustration of how digital storage and distribution costs have declined to a point where all of this is not only feasible, but relatively inexpensive to offer as a service.
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