Measuring Twitter buzz for Channel 4's 'The Taste'

Whilst the rest of you have scoffing mince pies and endless watching repeats of Morecambe & Wise we've been working hard to deliver our latest commission from Channel 4, ‘The Taste Twitter Tracker’, an app which monitors the twitter ‘buzz’ around contestants on the Channel’s new flagship cookery series ‘The Taste’. 

‘The Taste’, based on the US hit series, sees TV cook and bestselling author, Nigella Lawson and her fellow mentor-judges, Anthony Bourdain and Ludo Lefebvre, go head-to-head to find The Taste's first British winner. Each week, Nigella and her fellow mentors face a collision of fiery cookery challenges, blind-taste eliminations and simmering egos as the contestants battle it out to please the palates of the professionals with just one spoonful of food.

At the beginning of the series, 25 contestants are whittled down to twelve and divided in to three teams of four, each mentored by one of the celebrity chefs. In each subsequent episode, the teams face group and individual challenges knowing that one of them will be eliminated by the end of the show. The taste tests are blind so a mentor could easily send home their own team member if their spoonful doesn’t deliver a taste sensation, adding extra tension to the show.

Our app provides an engaging real-time visualisation of each contestant’s popularity on Twitter. By tracking tweets which contain both the show’s hashtag (#TheTaste) and the contestant’s name the app calculates the percentage of total tweets that each contestant has received. This is displayed as a series of circles, each representing a single contestant, which grow or shrink in size depending on the contestant’s share of the buzz. The app also looks for adjectives in the tweets and displays the top 10 descriptive words relating to each contestant and their dishes at any point in time. A ‘hot or not’ meter takes the temperature of the sentiment behind the tweets whilst a timeline ‘scrubber’ allows the user to see how the buzz has changed over time since the start of the series.

As Todd Florance, Senior Online Producer at Channel 4 says, “The Taste Twitter Tracker is an engaging way for our viewers to see which contestants and dishes are exciting Twitter users the most – offering a dynamic, real time snapshot of tweets about the show. It’s a fantastic way to visualise the huge buzz we know The Taste will generate”

We’ve developed several twitter tools in the past but what excites us about this app is that it is analysing data on a number of different and quite sophisticated levels, including sentiment analysis. We think it’s going to add real value to the viewer’s second-screen experience.  

The app, launched to coincide with the second episode of the show on 14th January, will be available both at on the Channel 4 website and via ‘4Now’, Channel 4’s companion app which is available to download from the iTunes store.