Voting for your favourite act on reality TV shows has just become a whole lot smarter after an exciting development between BT and the social media website Facebook.
The integration of BT Agilemedia's Online Participation Platform (OPM) with Facebook will offer real-time online voting and audience participation on a huge scale to audiences in the UK and around the world.
Facebook is already a big success story in internet communication and is increasingly being used by people to communicate with friends about reality TV and talent show programmes. Consequently it makes it an ideal medium for broadcasters to engage their audiences more closely.
Combine that with the all-round high performance and reliability of the OPM platform and the two provide a compelling proposition in an area of TV entertainment which shows no sign of fading.
Andy Shaw, who heads up BT Agilemedia's strategy and business development unit, says that BT Agilemedia’s experience in TV voting and the ability to provide a high-performance, secure and scaled online service has earned the trust of demanding broadcasters.
“Broadcasters expect reliability and flexibility and a service which allows them to receive, record and publish accurate results quickly. They are also naturally concerned about potential voting inaccuracies and the risks to reputation and ultimately their obligations under OFCOM’s broadcasting licence.”
“The development of the OPM platform gives them confidence, so they can concentrate on the show format and leave the technology to us.”
“Essentially OPM allows broadcasters and TV production companies to develop applications to interact wherever their viewers watch the show or talk to their friends about it. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, mobile apps or from their own website and online streaming services.”
BT Agilemedia also has a operational team on call 24/7 to make sure that live TV services are well supported,” adds Andy.
The OPM platform is testimony to BT's expertise in delivering innovative technology that handles high volumes of interactivity generated by TV shows and optimising IP services.
The integration of the OPM platform with Facebook now means people can cast votes directly from the show's Facebook page and give them extra content as they view live shows. This opens voting to a Britain’s 30 million Facebook users and encourages people to interact directly with the show as well as chat to their friends about it.
Voting will be the first of many services. The OPM platform is flexible and allows for a range of high volume audience interactivity. BT Agilemedia anticipates new formats including online games, quizzes, polls, competitions – plus a number of things that have yet to be invented.
“People are using Facebook and Twitter and 'second screen' such as iPads while watching TV. They are watching and responding to programmes in a different way now. We are simply giving broadcasters the tools to help viewers do more and do it easier in a way that creates value, and revenue, for them,” says Andy.
“In the next few years, Connected TV will become increasingly important. We will start deploying services to these platforms once enough viewers are using them. BT can play an key role in bringing communications and media together in a way that works for viewers and consumers,” he adds.
* BT Agilemedia is the communications and payments specialist division of BT Wholesale.