iQ Media’s new platform can automatically find logos in all TV transmissions

Philadelphia-based company says it now offers the first machine-only ability to find brands’ or competitors’ logos across the sea of TV.

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While a startup like AdQuick is trying to bring the ecosystem of out-of-home advertising into the digital age, established media measurement firms are still wrangling one of the oldest media ad channels: broadcast and cable TV.

This week, the six-year-old iQ Media announced the launch of a new TV search platform that automatically finds still or moving imagery of brands’ logos — or those of competitors. On a 24/7 basis, it tracks 210 DMAs (Designated Market Areas) and 1,300 channels on US TV, looking for any of 3,500 logos in its database.

Co-founder and head of innovation John Derham told me that “to our knowledge, this is the only [platform] that can find images in paid and earned media [on TV] via software.”

This logo placement data is used to score ad and PR campaign performances, including sponsorships. All of the channels are recorded, adding to the company’s storage of six years of TV programming. While the platform focuses on broadcast and cable TV, Derham said it also has the ability to track over-the-top (OTT) TV.


Other monitoring firms, he said, occasionally use machine vision to narrow down possible locations in TV transmissions, but this is supplemented by human monitoring. Or, he said, they focus on audio/closed caption mentions.

Although the iQ Media platform is designed to be completely automatic, Derham said human confirmation is sometimes needed for more visually complex logo depictions, and this feedback trains the platform to recognize that visual depiction the next time.

A typical use case, he said, is when an agency wants to find the exact places where a BMW sponsoring logo was presented in a PGA tournament, as well as when the logo might show up in other earned and paid media. iQ Media’s current clients include Domino’s Pizza, Energizer, NHL, Red Bull and Warner Bros.

The updated platform points toward the day when all TV audio and video programming is searchable in real time, as it is being transmitted or afterwards. Derham said that iQ Media is currently developing facial and object recognition to complement its logo recognition, as well as building contextual reference capability that could, for instance, know when a channel is showing a football game.

Previously, iQ Media tracked brand names spoken on TV channels’ sound tracks or displayed in closed captions, and it could detect tonality and sentiment relating to how the logo was mentioned.

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About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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