Seevibes was one of the graduates from FounderFuel’s first program. We interviewed them right after Demo Day in November, 2011. Since then the company has made a lot of progress, so we’ve followed up again to learn more.
Seevibes provides social engagement ratings for TV programs, in order to help broadcasters improve social media campaigns and grow advertising revenue. Seevibes analyzes and categorizes the billion messages about TV content posted on various social media by viewers. Seevibes also delivers relevant information and marketing tools to media and advertising professionals to help them better understand and realistically value the engagement of the public.
We spoke with Laurent Maisonnave, founder and CEO. He says that he first had the idea back in 2009 when watching a Canadiens hockey game on TV. “My wife and I each had our laptops open and we were both making Facebook comments about the match,” he says. “But I only began seriously developing Seevibes in autumn 2010 then launched the company officially in 2011.”
Since starting Seevibes, Laurent has added two key members: Francois Beausoleil and Pablo Gerstenfeld. Francois is the tech lead with 6 years experience with Ruby on Rails. He’s also contributed to numerous open source projects and led Montreal.rb (Ruby on Rails organization in Montreal) a year or so ago. Pablo is the marketing science analyst; a former business analyst at Neuralitic Systems and HSBC Insurance Argentina, Pablo is an expert in database marketing, business intelligence and commercial campaign management. The team has a few other employees as well.
NextMontreal: What are the key problems Seevibes is solving?
Laurent: Advertising agencies buying TV spots from broadcasters negotiate the price of commercial breaks based on old-school TV ratings. These are the same TV ratings that have been used for the past 60 years, giving an estimate of the TV viewership based on a very small sample. Everyone agrees this model is too inaccurate to be trusted. At the same time, advertising revenues are falling.
NextMontreal: What’s the unique value proposition of Seevibes?
Laurent: By validating the social audience of television, Seevibes help the media industry to maintain their advertising revenue, while enabling advertisers and agencies to target and optimize their multi-platform advertising campaigns.
Last January, we published the first hit parade of the top-rated TV shows in Canada based on the social engagement of viewers. We received a huge positive feedback from the media industry, because it was the first time they could see the vast scope of social media activity around TV shows.
NextMontreal: Any barriers to entry / competitive advantage?
Laurent: With the Seevibes Score, we establish a standard to help the media and advertising industry put an agreed value on the engaged TV audience. Seevibes gives an impartial analysis. The Seevibes Score is an authoritative value around which advertisers and broadcasters can negotiate.
NextMontreal: How does it work?
Seevibes has built a social media tool dedicated to monitoring and analyzing TV broadcasts. The technology platform maps everything showing on TV to all the relevant social media conversations about the shows and the commercials. To date, Seevibes’ social TV data covers 30 TV networks and 1000 TV shows across Canada. The company measures the activity of viewers on social networks to calculate market share of any given TV broadcast and provides detailed demographics on the viewers. This data is used to create a visualization of the social community connected to each program and thus to interact with them to build loyalty and promote the contents of a TV channel.
NextMontreal: Can you tell us about some of your customers?
Laurent: Seevibes has proven its ability to help TV broadcasters generate additional advertising revenue through a better appreciation of their audience and by optimizing social media campaigns for advertisers.
We’re currently working with several broadcasters in Canada including reality shows that are leading in the ratings, one in the English market and the other in the French market.
NextMontreal: What do you say to people who say that TV is dying and being taken over by the Web?
Laurent: There is a big gap between this fantasy and reality. I suggest reading this article: “Why the Web Hasn’t Hurt TV”
NextMontreal: Would you say you’re at product/market fit?
Laurent: Seevibes has defined a market that is growing very rapidly. We continue to develop our product through our experience with our customers.
NextMontreal: What are your top 3 lessons learned to date with Seevibes?
- You have to have a good team and treat them well.
- One size doesn’t fit all. I keep repeating this, but I honestly think we are at the dawn of the monetization of social media and that companies will have a growing need for solutions for their vertical market.
- It’s important to listen, but it’s even more important to act quickly.
NextMontreal: What can we expect in the next 6 months?
Laurent: Great things! In the short term, the team has been enriched by four new people to kick-start new developments. I’ll certainly be telling you more about this eventually, but for now I can just hint that we’re working on a new product and will make major announcements by this summer.