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The BBC team up with AI company Thoughtly to enhance audience analysis

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BBC Worldwide this week announced an exciting partnership with start-up company Thoughtly, leaders in artificial intelligence solutions. With the current rate and magnitude of content produced, consumed and disseminated, increasing the support of even more sophisticated technology is crucial. This, the latest partnership for BBC Worldwide’s Insight team, offers an opportunity to explore how machine learning can support its commitment in gaining a deeper understanding of which genres are most in demand, and where. It's a partnership that supports the team’s ambition to explore a variety of new research solutions and metrics to ensure the BBC are getting the most out of their content and ensuring audiences across the globe get the very best of what they have to offer, both in the shape of new titles and from the extensive catalogue. Following an initial trial, BBC Worldwide and Thoughtly have recently completed a more detailed piece of analysis, which includes looking at synopses and descriptions of programmes alongside data mining, to tease out more detail as how best to categorise individual titles.

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The Thoughtly Ellipse 2.0 Program in Action

Chase Perkins, Founder and CEO of Thoughtly, said of its research: “Thoughtly makes machine learning based research tools for non-technical professionals. If you want people to reap the utility of AI, you need to provide them with an immersive, app-like experience. We are thrilled to have partnered with BBC Worldwide’s Insight team as it continues to lead the industry and foster technology innovation.”

David Boyle, EVP Insight at BBC Worldwide, added: “We are excited that Thoughtly can help us reveal patterns and trends previously unknown and hidden in our content. Through working with Thoughtly, and utilising machine learning, we are building a deeper understanding of our content so that it can be paired with the most relevant audiences for both the BBC Worldwide and our partners. We are working together to answer some key analytical questions including: What are the recurring and elusive patterns that transcend the various genres in our catalogue? And how have themes evolved over the years, which have grown, declined, appeared and dissipated?”

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Chase Perkins (Founder and CEO of Thoughtly)

Thoughtly is just the latest start-up BBC Worldwide’s Insight team have collaborated with to gain greater understanding of audience behaviours and needs. In the last two years the team have also collaborated with such companies as CrowdEmotion; a company that specialises in facial coding software that allows a webcam to more accurately read facial expressions, and Rezonence, who create monetisations strategies for publishers and help advertisers connect with their audiences. These partnerships have all proven to be fruitful thus far so it's likely that the Thoughtly partnership will be just as successful.

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from Kidderminster in the UK.

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