Google, Israeli Tech Group Screenz Join Forces on Real-Time TV Tool (Exclusive)

"Rising Star"

ABC's new singing competition "Rising Star" will use the interactive tech, which allows real-time voting for live television events.

Google has joined forces with Israeli cross-media company Screenz to launch Screenz Real Time, an interactive platform designed to allow viewers to vote via a mobile app in live television events.

The platform will be used on ABC's new singing competition show Rising Star, which bows on the network June 22. The concept of the show has viewers voting in real time as contestants perform songs live, cut off from the studio audience by a wall of video screens. If a singer receives a more than 70 percent positive responses from viewers, as well as in-studio judges, the wall of screens rises up and the contestant moves on to the next round.

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Screenz developed its interactive mobile platform in Israel with producer/broadcaster Keshet for the original Israeli version of Rising Star, which launched last fall and was an instant ratings hit. The Screenz Real Time platform will be used on all the international versions of Rising Star, which roll out in more than 25 countries around the world this year.

U.S. users can download ABC's Rising Star app on iTunes, Google Play and Microsoft Market.

The collaboration with Google is aimed at allowing Screenz to properly scale its technology to deal with the millions of mobile interactions it expects with the launch of Rising Star in the U.S. and elsewhere. Google and Screenz say the technology has already been successfully used for versions of Rising Star in Brazil and Portugal. They say internal testing showed the platform could process more than 100 million interactions a minute, a record volume for Google's Cloud Platform.

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For broadcasters, the real value of the interactive platform lies in the data analysis it provides. The app gives real-time data about a viewer's engagement as well as detailed demographics, allowing targeted advertising.

"Broadcasters and producers are constantly looking to introduce new formats that enable them to engage directly with TV audiences,” said Screenz CEO Eli Uzan. “By working with the Google Cloud Platform, Screenz will empower them to rip up the rulebook and combine compelling live content with real-time viewer interaction.”

Screenz’s Real Time Platform uses the online suite of computing tools available on the Google Cloud Platform, including the Google Compute Engine and Cloud Storage services, as well as its BigQuery tool to analyze the volume of viewer data generated.

Daniel Powers, director of Google Cloud Platform, said: “Screenz is at the forefront of a revolution which is changing the way we watch television. We are delighted that they have chosen to build their game-changing products on the Google Cloud Platform. Our job is to make sure that the technology behind the Real Time Platform works effortlessly so that all viewers need to worry about is which way they are going to vote.”

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Screenz told THR the technology is adaptable to other TV formats but that it will not be a “patch” added to an established show. It will be integrated into shows from the beginning, a spokeswoman said. Screenz is working on adapting the app to other shows currently in development.

Twitter: @sroxborough