Twitter has confirmed that it has bought social TV analytics firm Bluefin Labs — a deal that was first reported yesterday — in order to further explore broadcast and TV advertising opportunities and further its analytics business.

Business Insider reported that the deal for four-year old BlueFun Labs, which has raised just over $20 million in funding, is priced at around $80 million, but Twitter did not confirm what it has paid. If Business Insider is right, the deal is Twitter’s biggest acquisition to date.

Last year Twitter inked a deal with Nielsen — the established social analytics firm that Bluefin Labs had sought to rival — to establish a TV ratings system based on tweets, and this acquisition will help further that set-up. Twitter says that Bluefin Labs will continue to service existing customers, but its core services will no longer be sold; instead, its Boston-based team will become a Twitter unit that develops “new ad products and consumer experiences in the exciting intersection of Twitter and TV”.

The company adds: “We plan to collaborate closely with Nielsen and SocialGuide on product development and research to help brands, agencies, and networks fully understand the combined value of Twitter and TV.”

Super Bowl XLVII this week was further proof of Twitter’s vast potential for TV and broadcast events. There were 24.1 million tweets sent relating to the game — a new Twitter record for a sports event — and Twitter, as a power outage affected proceedings, quick-thinking advertisers grabbed Twitter ads to promote their brands around the conversation and others rolled out clever, power outage-themed promotions.

Twitter also grabbed a prominent position during the Super Bowl advertisements, with references to the service appearing in half of the ad spots that ran during the commercial breaks.

Yet, for all of that progress, many advertisers are still unclear on exactly how they can use Twitter’s suite of advertising and ‘promoted tweet’ products. The microblogging site is expected to see advertising revenues of $1 billion this year, clearly it believes that broadcast and TV have a huge role to play.

Headline image via Westm / Flickr