The audience solves a mystery in this real-time interactive TV show powered by a South Korean startup



A new kind of reality TV experience will kick off in South Korea tonight, promising to integrate more audience participation than ever before. Forget dialing a phone number to cast a vote for your favorite singer or talent show contestant – on-screen polls and graphics will engage viewers in real-time as the show progresses.

Korean Cable TV network JTBC, in a partnership with automatic content recognition (ACR) company Enswers, co-produced the mystery-themed program. Called Crime Scene, it is being billed as the country’s first real-time interactive game show.

Crime Scene [is] a mystery game show in which six celebrity players become suspects in a murder case and must prove their innocence while trying to find the real criminal hidden among them,” said a statement from Enswer. “[It will] ask the audience to vote for the player they believe is the real murderer… [Viewers] will be able to change their votes as much as they wish until the real criminal is revealed, and those who correctly guessed the murderer will be entered into a lottery to win prizes.”

“The aggregated results of all the inputs will be shown on screen throughout the show and change as viewers alter their votes based on new revelations, which makes the programming not only more interactive but also more entertaining even for those who do not participate,” it added.

Samsung Ventures announced funding of US$2 million for Enswers last month. The startup’s interactive TV platform is already found on Samsung’s consumer smart TVs. Founded in 2007, Enswers was acquired by KT (formerly Korea Telecom) in 2011 for $40 million.

How does the Interactive TV Platform work?

Interactions that occur on viewers’ smart devices can be synced in real-time with the TV broadcast by Enswers’ audio recognition technology, which enables the microphones on smart devices to listen to the audio coming from the TV and automatically detect what the viewer is watching and when.

Engaging viewers has benefits for broadcasters, on top of making the viewing experience more fun for those watching. Enswers says that its service is proven to boost viewer ratings and increase advertising revenue.

“We are very excited to be working with JTBC to pioneer real-time interactive television in Korea,” said JP Lee, CEO of Enswers America. “By adopting our platform, JTBC will be making it easy for their fans to participate and be a part of the show.”

A spokeswoman for Enswers told Tech in Asia that the company is currently working with another broadcaster in Korea and several others around the world to bring real-time audience participation to other programming.

Editing by Paul Bischoff
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