Joseph Helfgot, the sociologist who founded media market research firm MarketCast, died from complications of a heart transplant Wednesday in Boston. He was 60.
After teaching sociology at Boston U., Helfgot founded MarketCast in 1985 to help companies apply research to marketing films. Over 22 years in entertainment research, he advised on hundreds of film releases.
“He truly changed the face of research in this industry,” said Universal marketing prexy Adam Fogelson. “He provided an alternative to the one-company research business, and he did it brilliantly, with a spectacular personality to boot.” Fogelson said that Helfgot’s scientific background was integral in finding the industry new ways to market product.
Helfgot, the son of concentration camp survivors, was raised in New York City. He received B.A., Masters and PhD degrees in sociology from the State U. of New York at Stony Brook and taught social policy and research methodology at NYU as well as Boston U. During his academic career, he authored three books and numerous articles on social policy and hosted a radio program in Boston.
MarketCast was sold to Daily Variety parent company Reed Business in 2000, and Helfgot stayed on as president. He headed up all aspects of research, especially analysis for large custom projects, and was also involved in advertising testing, tracking and positioning analyses.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Whitman, three sons and a daughter.
Donations may be made to Team Rwanda, brighamandwomens.org/cardiacsurgery/Rwanda/howtohelp.aspx
Funeral services will be held Friday at noon at Stanetsky Memorial Chapel, 1668 Beacon St., Brookline, MA.