Earlier this year, statistician Nate Silver teamed with ESPN to launch a new home for his blog, FiveThirtyEight. The home of Silver’s notably-accurate political predictions has now expanded to an entire site focused on statistical analysis, and that focus will now expand to video, too. At the Toronto International Film Festival, FiveThirtyEight premiered the first episode of “Signals“, a series that will use data to explore important topics.
According to Variety, “Signals” will keep in line with FiveThirtyEight’s tone by applying statistical analysis to everything from politics to science to sports. The first episode is a 17-minute short film titled “Man Vs. Machine“, and it analyses the chess match between grandmaster Gary Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue computer. ESPN claims that new episodes will arrive every six weeks.
In addition to “Signals”, FiveThirtyEight is also set to debut a separate documentary series titled “The Collectors“. Instead of applying statistical analysis to other topics, “The Collectors” will focus its lens inward and profile professional statisticians.
“These are exactly the kinds of projects I envisioned from the outset when I decided to bring FiveThirtyEight to ESPN,” said Silver in a statement. “Working with ESPN Films will help to expand our journalism in ways that prove a sound knowledge of data and statistics can make stories more compelling as well as more accurate.”
FiveThirtyEight shares a parent company with Bill Simmons‘ Grantland, which produces 30 For 30 Shorts: another series of documentaries and a central part of ESPN’s web video efforts. Just as the new FiveThirtyEight site bears many similarities to Grantland, the two new docu-series will likely have a similar tone and format to 30 For 30 Shorts. We’ll see just how comparable “Signals” is to its precursor when “Man Vs. Machine” arrives on FiveThirtyEight on October 22nd.