Second Screen and Social TV with Discovery Italia

24 febbraio 2015
maurizio

A new dimension of entertainment from home on TV

This project started with the intent to enhance the viewer’s experience by allowing active participation and interaction with a live TV show through a mobile phone app and a Second Screen application, including with sounds such as clapping, laughing, whistling, and other interactions.

Second Screen interactivity is a new, unexplored area in television entertainment. In addition to providing  an augmented television experience, Second Screen blends the television experience with those of the Internet and mobile worlds.

People who watch television while using smartphones are increasing constantly. In 2014, 75% of viewers occasionally used an Internet connected device while watching TV.  Some 53% of them used a smartphone, 37%  a laptop or desktop computer, and 24% used a tablet. And 38% of these people did this at least once per day (Source: Osservatorio New Media & New Internet in collaboration with Doxa, an Italian research and polling company).

Amici Real Time is a project developed for Discovery Italia, and was possible thanks to ClassX, a real-time TV graphic platform used worldwide, and Parterre, a Second Screen platform providing an interactive user experience using smart phones and dedicated applications.

The concept behind Parterre is to allow spectators watching TV at home to feel as though they are in a real theater and able to participate by applauding or whistling. Parterre allows viewers to vote for or against guests on the show. The platform was built to enhance the experience when watching reality shows, talent shows, talk shows or contests. Parterre can be customized to reflect the branding and style guideline for each broadcaster’s show.

Discovery Italia decided to use Parterre for their talent show “Amici di Maria De Filippi” transmitted on Real Time TV. In this talent show, about twenty students between 18 and 25 years old aspire to become singers, jazz, hip-hop or classical dancers.

 

Parterre developed the app which was dedicated to this show. The app is called  “Amici Real Time” and it is a free download from the Apple and Google online stores. The app shows pictures of the students and their teachers through an inspiring user interface. Its use is very simple. Select the guest and push a button to register your vote:

    • Like to express approval
    • Dislike to express disagreement

During the show the app displays the results of the voting, while voicing the applause or whistling of the crowd at home.

Every day the editorial staff at Discovery updates the app with new calls to action. Viewers can express their preference during the show through the app with unlimited votes. The editorial staff is able to edit images, episodes, and names of each guest through a customized web application dashboard provided by Parterre.

All the information gathered during the show is shown on TV by ClassX and their graphic overlay platform. Same results are also available on the WEB within a widget embedded on the show’s main site at (http://www.amici.realtimetv.it/amici-di-maria-de-filippi-social-tv).

The action of pressing the “Like” button on the mobile app simulates the applause which can be heard, while the “Dislike” button will sound like a whistle or disapproving sound. The system is also able to provide feedback from the other users by replicating the noises usually heard in a theater as well as background crowd noise.

The app allows users to follow the tweets of the official hashtag “#Amici14” and to interact directly with Twitter without changing application. All messages published on Twitter and Facebook are gathered by the Discovery team through Spredfast, the most comprehensive social platform in the world, and are sent to ClassX which in turns displays them on the live TV show.

Parterre is able to handle feedback from millions of users simultaneously thanks to Parterre’s proprietary technology “Actions” and the use of advanced cloud services on Amazon. Parterre is the first organization in Italy to receive a free Amazon budget to develop applications on their systems.

Visualization of data received by the application on TV is handled by ClassX and its graphic overlay engine. The operator selects and manages the events to broadcast through a simple control panel, where different animation and graphic templates are available.

The selection of available layouts managed by SocialPlayer, the Social TV platform build by ClassX, is fully customizable and allows the ability to display data received by Parterre in six different scenarios:

    • Call to action, which invites viewers to comment and participate using the mobile app;
    • Single appreciation, which displays the results received by a single guest;
    • Two-guest contest on “Like,” which shows the number of likes received by two competing guests ;
    • Two-guest contest on “Dislike,” which shows the number of dislikes received by two competing guests;
    • Rankings on “Like,” which shows the rankings for the three most popular contestants;
    • Rankings on “Dislike,” which shows the rankings for the three most disliked contestants;

A widget on the official  Real Time web site shows live data during the live show plus other statistics about viewers. The web widget developed by Parterre is responsive and therefore  adapts to  different screen sizes, and can be embedded in any web site by using a simple snippet of code.

Even though the features  listed above are seemingly commonplaces, not all of them are present at the same time in the products existing in the current market. Parterre has the potential to reach the widest public thanks to its ease of use and the absence of registrations or other obstacles which will prevent many people to use it. Currently the platform shows a very high engagement percentage because of its instant feedback after users’ actions. The “Like” in Parterre is an applause, which is something that recurs constantly during a show.

Three weeks after the first live show, the number of votes gathered by the application surpassed 4.5 million with more than 60K active users, 1.4 million ADV Impressions/week, with a remarkably high participation rate of more than 52 votes per user per day.

Gathering data from such different platforms in real time and providing  a simple and fast tool to manage all this information for the Discovery Team has been an exciting challenge.  Today the Editorial team in Milan can control and manage one single influx of information coming from Facebook, Twitter, Spredfast and Parterre, while choosing in real time what to display on the TV show, which is managed in Rome. It is a big step forward in the technology of graphic automation for TV programs. The social platform developed by ClassX has reached high standards and levels of completeness, quality and stability that are hard to find even in higher priced lines of similar product, thus confirming ClassX one of the most innovative and dynamic companies in the global market.
Alessandro Messineo Sales & Project Manager at ClassX
ClassX confirms its full engagement in social media and second screen applications by enforcing investments and widening development plans for year 2015.
Michele Puccini CEO of ClassX
The idea came to me thinking about the atmosphere in nineteenth-century theaters, when you had a dedicated space near the stage for people standing. In this area you could clap, whistle, talk, in other words, be noisy, and at times irreverent. Many people would prefer to leave their comfortable seats to stand in there and have more fun. This place in the theater was called the Parterre. We were inspired and ran with the idea from there. 
Maurizio De Gregorio CEO & Founder of Parterre

Companies and Organizations involved

ClassX

ClassX has more than 20 years of experience in developing solutions for 2D and 3D software for broadcasters and post-production. Our wide variety of solutions range from the creation of graphic animated layouts,  database driven, to audio/video 2D/3D real time packages. Our products are used and integrated with many of the most important playout video and newsroom system around the globe, such as RAI, Mediaset and Sky in Italy, RSI in Switzerland, ISSF in Germany, Alfalsaliah in Saudi Arabia, VGTRK in Russia and many more.

Parterre

Parterre is an innovative start-up, which offers second screen services for TV interaction using smartphones. Parterre is incubated by the PoliHub of Milan and collaborates with the Osservatori del Politecnico of Milan. Parterre has a portfolio of offerings which adapts to small broadcasters, where the service is free, up to big players with customized services and dedicated applications.

Spredfast

Spredfast gives marketers the solutions needed to manage their brand and connect with consumers in an increasingly social world. The Spredfast social software platform sifts through millions of pieces of social content per minute, so brands can participate in individual conversations or amplify relevant content across any digital screen. Over 600 customers, including all five major broadcast networks and fifty percent of Interbrand’s 2014 World’s Best Brands have partnered with Spredfast to create first-class social experiences.

Summary

Home TV public’s desire to participate actively during a TV show is a positive source of energy which can and must be valued.

The second-screen solution created with Discovery for the TV show “Amici di Maria De Filippi” demonstrates with data and statistics  that the audience from home wants to be part of the show. The main strengths of our solutions includes: give viewers a simple interactive tool, a tool that is able to reach a wider spectrum of the public, and at the same time receive immediate feedback from TV about their actions.

Moreover Parterre’s value for the broadcaster is its ability to generate a very detailed profile of the home viewers with demographics and other interesting commercial data.

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