Television

#RaceTo272 with Twitter and NDTV’s Graphity

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MUMBAI: When it first created Graphity on the occasion of Republic Day, little did NDTV know that its service of sending personalized photographs and messages would create such a flutter on social media, especially Twitter.  

On the counting day, 16 May, NDTV has decided to engage its propriety service Graphity on Twitter to tweet real-time results to people who use the hashtag #RaceTo272 from @NDTVElections. The tweet will have an info-graphic representing the latest party/alliance position at that moment.

How does it work?

A little over three months since its launch and NDTV’s platform already boasts a client list that reads: Rajinikanth, Jai Ho, the BJP, Hero and Star Vijay among others. Indeed, when Rajini finally decided to be a part of Twitter, his first few followers received autographed photographs of the southern legend, courtesy Graphity.

While the popular trend has been for people and companies to turn to Graphity to attract users, more prominently on Twitter, the service is not restricted only to Twitter, and can operate for web and SMS as well. According to NDTV Convergence CTO Kawaljit Singh Bedi, “The technology is such that we can monitor any social media. But Twitter is the best medium to do it.”

On Twitter, Graphity works on keywords and hash tags; it listens to them and sends out the desired outcome, as requested by the client or NDTV itself. A case in point is Star Vijay, which utilized the service for its show Super Singer where hash tags were tracked and personalized messages from finalists were sent for a week before the finale. “We wanted to be a brand that people follow. Super Singer is synonymous with Star Vijay so the conversation would revolve round us. This helped us deepen the bond and make it stronger,” says Star Vijay digital media strategist Paul Samji.

NDTV first used Graphity for one of its own activities in January, post which, Twitter sat up and took notice and started routing people who required similar services to NDTV. It took four months to come up with the service and if anything, all that hard work is now bearing fruit. It takes one or at the most two days to form an idea of what the client wants. Using the content management system (CMS), users give controls to the software. Firstly, the ‘listener’ service listens to hash tags by connecting to Twitter and secondly, the listener application connects to the ‘pusher’ application. The response page then sends out the desired outcome that is modified to fit a web page as well as various operating systems.

According to sources, rates for Graphity have ranged from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 18 lakh.

The inspiration for Graphity came from BCCI’s photographs of Sachin Tendulkar bidding farewell to the cricketing world and his fans. After speaking to various companies, including some in the US, NDTV decided to do it alone. A team of four engineers helped set up Graphity. “We have built it like a platform. It suggests an inpoint and outpoint for sending commands to execute outcome. These can be text, image, video, information or a combination of any of these,” says Bedi. “There are two more brands we are working with. The requests are only increasing because brands see the value in Graphity.”

Given Graphity’s growing popularity, it’s quite possible that in the near future, the service may evolve into more than just a branding exercise used by brands to get maximum exposure.

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