Bigger Than YouTube: Tracking Your Brand on TV

Critical Mention produces instant text transcripts of hundreds of TV and radio stations worldwide. It consumes media like a monstrous couch potato. Now it’s getting larger, and way more useful for online video services.


Real-time broadcast monitoring service Critical Mention just added 50 top U.S. radio stations to the roster of broadcast streams it digitizes and renders into easily searchable text, it announced yesterday.

There is a dizzying amount of TV and radio out there. If you’re a brand manager–or, especially at this time of year, a campaign manager–and you want to keep track of what’s said about you, where do you turn? Critical Mention’s latest platform ingests and digitizes over 27 hours of content every 60 seconds (more than YouTube handles in the same span of time). Its clients can search eight million video clips and 10 terabytes of indexed TV data. If a guest on a Fox affiliate in L.A. talks trash about one of Critical’s clients, that client will receive an alert and can view the clip online within seconds of airing. Critical’s indexing tentacles now reach into Canada, Europe, and even the Middle East.

Critical Mention has many competitors in the real-time broadcast monitoring field. So besides its size, what sets Critical Mention apart from the pack? Critical’s CEO Sean Morgan last year tapped former Apple R&D guru Tom Gilley to help scale the business, improving technology such as the all-important voice-to-text algorithms. The company “timecodes every word to its moment in a video,” Morgan tells Fast Company. That means users can “click on one word, click on another word, and they’ve edited the video.”

What really sets Critical Mention apart, according to Morgan, is that it’s actually one of three components of Critical Media. The umbrella company also comprises, which lets networks migrate their content to the web, and, which helps them–you guessed it–syndicate that media.

This three-pronged strategy, moving beyond capture and alerts to distribution, gives Critical Media a much wider reach. According to Morgan’s jargon of choice, Critical Media is a global video ecosystems company. “We are the de facto aggregator of video as it is taken off of airwaves and put online,” he says. Hundreds of broadcasters use to post clips to their own sites. Critical Mention serves clients on both ends of the media equation–not just those reacting to content, but also those producing it.

[Image: flickr user SashaW]

About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal.