Business

Twitter’s TV future started at BlueFin in Cambridge

Bluefin was founded in 2008 by MIT professor Deb Roy (right) and his former doctoral student Michael Fleischman.
Bluefin was founded in 2008 by MIT professor Deb Roy (right) and his former doctoral student Michael Fleischman.Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

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As Twitter Inc. heads for Wall Street, it’s trying to convince investors it can turn a profit using a communications medium from another century: your television set.

Twitter and TV are already cozy. Millions of Twitter users regularly tap out 140 character quips on smartphones and tablets while watching “The Walking Dead” or “The Voice,” and networks pay close attention to those tweets to figure out what viewers think.

But Twitter is telling potential investors ahead of its initial public stock offering expected next month it will become an indispensable companion for TV audiences and networks, turning those relationships into an advertising windfall. In many ways, those claims are even possible because of a Cambridge start-up called Bluefin Labs that spun out of MIT.

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