Reality Check Systems Boosts “American Idol” Fan Engagement with Real-time Voter Data Visualizations

By June 2, 2014

Burbank, Calif.June 2, 2014

Burbank, CA (June 2, 2014) — Reality Check Systems (RCS) reinvigorated audience interactivity for the latest season of “American Idol” by integrating custom software and middleware solutions into one of its Bullet mobile graphics systems to help display and broadcast real-time voter data visualizations throughout the televised competition. With creative direction from production studio FremantleMedia North America and voter data culled by Telescope, a six-person crew of RCS designers, artists and programmers delivered the solutions, which played an integral role in engaging audiences during each broadcast, in under 12 weeks.

“‘American Idol’ is constantly working to provide our viewers with new interactive experiences, and a deeper relationship and influence over the show. This year was a groundbreaking year with the integration of real fans and real-time voting results into the fabric of the program, and RCS and Telescope played an integral role in that success,” said David Luner, President of Brand Partnerships and Franchise Management, FremantleMedia North America.

RCS first designed Vizrt graphics templates from the ground up to provide the framework. Once given specific guidelines for how Telescope voter data sourced from Facebook, and the American Idol mobile app needed to appear on-screen, RCS wrote specialized software and middleware on top of its Bullet mobile graphics system to read and process incoming data, then populate the appropriate information and imagery within the templates on-screen – all in real-time. Subsequently, RCS’ team provided on-site training and assistance to the production crew throughout the remainder of the season to ensure seamless operation.

As a result of the collaboration, digital supporters surrounded “American Idol” contestants facing elimination each week during their final performances. An LED screen behind the artists displayed cascading avatar images of Facebook fans who voted for them throughout the competition. Adding an additional layer of interactivity, throughout the results portion of each broadcast, RCS’ solutions also facilitated the visualization of voter standings broken down by the producer’s desired demographics such as gender, age, geography or any combination thereof.

“This project was unlike anything we’d done before, which made it challenging, but also a lot of fun,” said RCS Producer Sean Boyriven. “Together with FremantleMedia and Telescope, we were able to inject voters into the show via social media, while also connecting contestants with their Facebook supporters more closely. In doing so, we were able to create a more immersive experience for viewers overall.”

About Reality Check Systems
Reality Check Systems (RCS) ignites on-air viewing experiences for some of the most-watched sporting, eSports and entertainment events on television. With offices in Burbank, CA and London, RCS has partnered with the world’s leading sports leagues, federations, networks and social media giants since 1997 to fuel audience engagement through a customized fusion of dynamic graphics, real-time data, and social media. To give shape to each client’s unique vision, RCS develops sophisticated graphics and production systems that can be seamlessly deployed in a wide array of professional environments.