Category Archives: TV shows

The global reach and simplicity of the viewer interactivity

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Audience participation is undoubtedly one of the most exciting aspects of live television. From the early days of game shows to new interactive experiences on platforms like Facebook and Snapchat – one constant remains –  audiences are always eager to take part in the conversation, influence and interact with their favorite content.

As dated as it may seem now, toll free phone voting and text voting proved to be a huge milestone for television interactivity. In the US, the launch of American Idol created the first mass-scale competition show that allowed at home audiences to directly impact the outcome of the broadcast. In the first few seasons of Idol, the show saw engagement like never before. In April 2003, Idol received more than 2.5 million text messages, including polls, sweepstakes entries, trivia and votes (1). What’s even more impressive is that 22% of at home audiences said they first learned to text by voting for their favorite Idol contestant (2).

In fact, we still have numerous shows that still employ standard rate text voting to great success. For example, we recently launched Top Chef Facebook and text voting.

The success of American Idol paved the way for numerous competition and interactive shows across the US and globally. From Dancing with The Stars to America’s Got Talent, nearly every network had its own interpretation of an interactive vote format. However, as time went on and social media’s prevalence continued to grow, it became clear that viewer behavior was changing. Social media platforms offered both a challenge and a new opportunity to engage fans and audiences.

Voting has always been free in the U.S., and as a result, we’ve had the opportunity to continually innovate with technology to meet the ever-changing needs of viewers as they’ve migrated to new platforms. Our interactive solutions have evolved over the years to drive maximum participation and social reach by building cross platform verified solutions for online, mobile, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger…

For most countries voting has always been a revenue stream driven by consumer payments through telephony. But there’s now a conscious shift to changing these traditional voting methods and moving away from the original pay-to-play voting experiences. The reason? The traditional approach is limiting to both the audience and the TV show. The solution? Make the experience as accessible as possible and free for the user. By removing premium rate and creating more digital and social applications, voting shows will be able to better meet what their viewers want, bring vital viral marketing support to push eyeballs to the broadcast, and use this new inventory to attract sponsors and advertisers.

For example, on this past season of Asia’s Got Talent we launched voting on Facebook Messenger and hashtag to create a more social and real-time experience for fans.

Working with Facebook, we customized our Messenger Bot and Hashtag vote applications to deliver a highly intuitive and mobile friendly experience during the live shows. The Messenger Bot supported 6 languages, included strict requirements, geo-access and audited results.

TV series Growing


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The TV world has been quietly high-fiving itself after a year in which its golden age continues to glitter. From The Night Of to The Night ManagerHappy Valley to Silicon Valley, going out has never felt less appealing. With Netflix pouring bazillions into new shows and others desperately trying to keep up, 2017 looks likely to be just as much of a strain on sofas nationwide.

BBC, January
Aside from his turn as Leo’s mud-caked nemesis in The Reverent way back in January, Tom Hardy has had a relatively quiet year (and this coming after a 2015 when he played not one but two Krays, and led the charge in the road movie romp that was Mad Max). Things are set to change in 2017. Not only is there Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk, but we have the 8-part TV series Taboo, written by the man himself, together with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight (who gave Hardy that Welsh accent in Locke), and Hardy’s dad, Chips. Set in a dark, sin-soaked London of the early 1800s, Hardy plays an explorer who returns from the dead with a bag of African diamonds, a murderous glint in his eye and an appetite for revenge. And if the bonkers trailer is anything to go by, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Tom Hardy in it (as in, naked save a load of tribal tattoos). Expect some giggling next to you on the sofa.


Sky Atlantic, 13 April
Coming from 12 Years a Slave writer John Ridley and being produced by (and starring) Idris Elba, this politically-charged six-parter has all the trappings to be one of 2017’s buzziest dramas. Delving into a piece of contemporary history our authorities might prefer to ignore, Guerrilla is a love story set amid the civil rights movement of 1970s London, as an underground cell of militants battles against Scotland Yard’s ‘black power desk’, a very real (yet rarely discussed) counterintelligence unit aimed at suppressing activism. Frieda Pinto, Babou Ceesay, Zawe Ashton, Bond’s MI6 chief-of-staff Rory Kinnear and Line of Duty‘s Daniel Mays will also appear. No prizes for guessing who’s playing the cops.

American Gods
Amazon Prime Video, 1 May
It’s taken 15 years and at least one failed attempt (HBO tried and gave up at script stage), but Neil Gaiman’s wondrously dark blend of mythology and Americana is finally getting the adaptation fans have been crying out for. Classic TV bad boy Ian McShane seems almost perfectly cast as the cryptic, all-knowing Mr. Wednesday, while Shadow Moon, the ex-con bruiser thrust into a war between old and new deities, is being played by Ricky Whittle, potentially seeing him leapfrog Will Mellor as Hollyoaks’ most successful alumni. How the show captures a sex scene early on in the story in which a man is – literally – swallowed by a vagina should be interesting.

The Best Reality TV Show of All Time



Reality shows are our most popular guilty pleasure.

Since 1983’s An American Family Revisited, which later inspired MTV’s Real World, viewers have been enamored with watching others live their lives or some variation of their lives. Just last TV season, The Bachelor, The Voice, and Survivor ranked in the Top 20 of the most-watched shows.

But while reality TV is often criticized for dumbing down content, there’s a lot to be gained from watching the ongoing tales of other people’s lives.

Whether it’s watching a classic rags-to-riches story, being inspired by incredible weight loss journeys, following someone chasing after their dreams, getting a radical makeover, or just living their-day-to-day drama-filled life, these shows allow viewers to escape into someone else’s shoes, even if it’s just for a brief time. While some shows can be positive influences, we admit that isn’t always the case. But even controversial moments like when Snooki got punched when she confronted a man who stole the Jersey Shore group’s drinks, or when New York spit on Pumkin on Flavor of Love, gave us invaluable lessons on what not to do in high-pressure moments.

In the alternate world of reality shows, housewives don’t have to be wives, the biggest loser is actually the winner, and an average-looking guy can have groups of gorgeous women fighting over him. And now, with social media, fans have more access than ever to reality stars’ lives. Whether it’s fake or real, it’s damn good TV. Here are the best reality TV shows of all time.

The Four is the latest singing competition show to join the ranks, but this series has a secret weapon—Diddy and DJ Khaled, two artists who are known for stealing the spotlight and making anything exciting. The concept for the Fergie-hosted show is interesting as well, as there are no on-screen auditions. Instead, four singers with different styles compete against oncoming challengers who are all trying to be the final four winners. The winners are named iHeartRadio’s “On the Verge” artists and earn a recording contract with Republic Records (through Universal Music Group). Aside from the show itself, it’s really fun to watch Diddy promote the show on his Instagram.