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BBC trials facial recognition software to test TV show appeal

by Mark Tyson on 17 June 2014, 15:14

Tags: BBC Multimedia

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A pilot study commissioned by BBC Worldwide has seen the introduction of facial recognition software into 200 test viewers' homes. Of course it's not there to recognise the people who are watching, but to measure their facial expressions, to see how they react to programmes and events within those programmes.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the technology used in the survey participants' homes comes from British startup CrowdEmotion. Apparently the system can detect and measure the following range of viewer emotions; happiness, surprise, anger, fear, disgust and sadness. The BBC has used this system to gauge viewer reaction in shows like Sherlock and Top Gear, among others.

The executive vice president of BBC Worldwide Insight, David Boyle, said that "CrowdEmotion’s ability to capture, record and quantify our audience’s emotional attachment and engagement to our TV shows, places BBC Worldwide at the forefront of global audience research and ultimately determines what our fans love to watch".

The chief executive of CrowdEmotion, Matthew Celuszak, said that his firm's emotion measurement systems are the result of "20 years of neuroscience… boiled down into machine learning," which can be used for tasks such as to "humanise a brand," or even gauge "criminal intent".

I'm interested in what might change following such an emotion measurement survey. If the BBC measures these reactions to its programmes does it then intend to feed that back into the TV show making process?



HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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Hmm that is kind of creepy I think. I would not personally want something like that.
I guess it's only going to be for those that are currently signed up to obtain viewing habits so they can extrapolate viewing figures. It's not like you are going to be exposed to it in general viewing.
Apparently the system can detect and measure the following range of viewer emotions; happiness, surprise, anger, fear, disgust and sadness.
Can they track boredom too? Think my boredom measurement would be quite high for some of the BBC headline content.
But can I hack their bank accounts with my mobile phone? :D
Tosh.
My Old Dad looked like a Grumpy Bugger whilst being annoyed by “Play your cards right” or whilst being amused by “Dad's Army”. I don't think facial recognition would have picked up anything useful at all.