TV3 develops software to test the nation’s pulse

11 Feb 2011

Broadcaster TV3’s live debate this week featuring Labour’s Eamon Gilmore and Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin not only made it into the top 3 trending topics on Twitter globally, but was actually the test bed for a dynamic new way of testing a nation’s mood.

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny opted out of the debate.

A Like-O-Metre was built into TV3’s live stream of the momentous debate to allow TV or web viewers to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ viewpoints expressed live on TV.

The technology was originally created for the hit programme The Apprentice and was augmented to work with the live debate on Tuesday night.

As the General Election 2011 debate was taking place, TV3’s Like-O-Metre was able to collect instant feedback on what people thought of each politician’s argument. For example as soon as Martin stated he would fix the health system, his approval rating plummeted.

The proprietary technology was built using a combination of Javascript, Flash and Ajax software, explained the head of online at TV3, Peter Clerkin.

“What we did during the live debate was play live streaming in a box and people came in to vote as the party leaders were talking about their policies. People could then vote yes or no as the politicians were speaking.”

About 112,000 votes cast during TV3’s live stream of debate

Clerkin said that some 112,000 votes were cast during the live debate.

“Having the capabilities like Twitter and the Like-O-Metre means we can have a level of interaction and engagement you currently don’t have with TV, it’s a relationship that wasn’t possible before.”

Clerkin said having the ability to like or dislike something as the leaders debated added value for visitors to the live stream.

Clerkin said the broadcaster aims to build the technology into further election coverage and future programmes to make shows more interactive.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years