Here's a surprise follow-up to the news this week of Twitter's acquisition of a social media analytics firm Bluefin Labs. NM Incite -- a social analytics JV between Nielsen and McKinsey that forms part of Nielsen's Twitter TV Rating service -- has started to lay off most of its employees, and we've even heard that NM Incite will be shut down altogether by the end of this month.
We're reaching out to NM Incite for comment, but from what we can tell, people started to get news about this yesterday, with some posting responses on Twitter, and others on Facebook. A reader -- a former NM Incite employee -- has also contacted TechCrunch saying that he's been writing recommendations for some of his ex-colleagues today who are now looking for work. [Update below, confirming the layoffs and shut-down of most of NM Incite's business.]
It's not clear yet whether the move is directly related to Twitter acquiring analytics expertise of its own or whether it was a wider business decision with coincidental timing.
In yesterday's blog post announcing the Bluefin Labs news, Twitter's COO Ali Rowghani made specific reference to how the deal "builds on our exclusive partnership with Nielsen announced in December to develop the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, the centerpiece of social TV measurement based on Nielsen’s SocialGuide platform." NM Incite bought the SocialGuide TV analytics platform in November 2012, one month before the Twitter deal was announced.
It may be the case that in the wake of Twitter's decision to have some expertise in-house, perhaps Nielsen and McKinsey have rethought how their own social analytics business would develop. In addition to the SocialGuide TV analytics platform, NM Incite also offers wider social media analytics services that it tailors to companies/brands in specific verticals like healthcare, financial services and consumer packaged goods.
On the other hand, for all the eyeballs and attention that second-screen experiences are getting, in this still-young area of media, business models are still in flux -- and, therefore, so are those involved in them. Away from analytics, there have been some consolidation moves in the social TV space: Viggle trying (unsuccessfully) to acquire GetGlue and Dijit buying Miso.
Update: A person close to NM Incite has now confirmed the layoffs but didn't specify how many. She also confirmed that NM Incite is closing down most -- but not all -- of its operations. BuzzMetrics and its social listening tools for enterprises, competing in a crowded space, are being retired, but the social TV analytics service, which is in a contract with Twitter to create ratings data, is set to live on, and be used as a possible basis for more expansion into advertising metrics. A separate source estimates that the part of the business that is getting shut down accounted for about 85% of NM Incite's employees.
A spokesperson said the decision to close most of NM Incite's business was coincidental with Twitter's acquisition, not directly connected.
"NM Incite is winding down its social listening platform to focus on areas of social media analytics where it has a competitive advantage and can deliver truly unique, differentiated solutions – like social TV," a spokesperson told TechCrunch.