Television Trends Tracker: Explore American Television News

We are incredibly excited to announce the latest GDELT media analysis tool that provides a range of sophisticated analyses of the Internet Archive Television News Archive.  You can specify up to three words or phrases and optionally limit to a particular television network or date range, and get back a fully interactive dashboard showing how your terms have been used on American television news over the past half-decade.  See how coverage volume has changed by week, which television networks devote the most attention, the topics that feature more prominently in shows mentioning the terms, and the words that appear most frequently in the immediate context of the terms.  It even features a contextual ngrammer that computes a word histogram of all of the words that appear in the immediate vicinity of your term(s) in the closed captioning stream, making it possible to see how your term(s) are being contextualized in the news.

Of particular interest to those examining political advertising, there is a special option to select all networks in the Philadelphia area as part of the Internet Archive's Philadelphia Area Political Ads Pilot Project.

You can either view the results online in your browser or download to an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis with various content analysis or statistical software.

The contextual word histograms (ngrams) are particularly powerful for their ability to allow in-depth analysis at how contextualization of a term or topic has changed over time or across networks (or how similar/related terms differ in their contextualization). You can use the network dropdown and the Excel output option to generate the full word histogram for your term for each network and then compare. Or, perhaps most powerfully, use the date selector to limit by month over the last five years and output the Excel sheet for each month and import those ngrams into statistical software or a content analysis package for coding and further analysis of how the context around a term is changing over time (being careful to accommodate for the fact that some stations are added later than others and there are some sporadic outages of some stations in the archive – you might narrow by network for this).

Try some of these queries:

  • Trayvon Martin vs Ferguson vs Snowden (At its peak, coverage of Snowden was just over half of the peak of coverage devoted to Trayvon Martin or Ferguson)
  • Wikileaks vs Snowden vs Assange (Wikileaks and Julian Assange had a much more pronounced media falloff and receive little coverage today, while Snowden still receives substantial coverage)
  • Russia vs Ukraine (The steady rampup of coverage of Russia beginning in Fall 2012 is clearly visible, with Ukraine coverage now nearly perfectly correlated with coverage of Russia)
  • Iraq vs Egypt vs Syria (The sudden surge of coverage about Egypt and Syria in Spring 2011 is instantly visible, as is the shift in coverage back towards Iraq)
  • "I Approve This Message" (Notice the long leadup in advertising to the 2012 election)
  • Happy vs Sad (the word "happy" is used 2-3 times more often than the word "sad" – note that the news may focus on "sad" events without using the word "sad" but this suggests that the word "happy" is more popular)
  • Obama vs Clinton (the "Coverage by Network" barchart shows that some networks preference coverage of Obama to a greater degree than others)


Try the Television Trends Tracker Now!