Late last month I got an advance look at the new IPG Media Lab, recently relocated from LA to New York and sporting all manner of flashy tech displays. Where the LA lab was essentially a connected-home display designed to show marketers how people are actually consuming media today, as opposed to five or ten years ago, the New York lab is all about future possibilities and the technologies that enable them. There's GazeHawk, which uses Webcams to do eye-tracking studies. There's TruMedia's iCapture, an "audience measurement solution" that computes the age, sex, and interest level of people looking at in-store displays. Affectiva, whose "Affdex expression tracker" watches shoppers through a tiny camera tucked under the shelf and measures their emotional response to the products thereon. And then there's Trendrr—"a company we love," says Chad Stoller, the lab's managing partner.
Trendrr sifts through social media commentary to gauge the engagement level of people watching TV. This is a potentially revolutionary development—for advertisers, for viewers, for television itself.