VisionLink in Ukraine’s biggest dispute
In spring 2019 National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC) produced presidential debate show The Countdown that was recognized by the Council of Europe as the most balanced talk show in the presidential election race. The Countdown proved that the new era of interactive television has truly come: the viewer now plays an important role in the whole show.
VisionLink platform made it possible to involve audiences of different age groups, from different regions of Ukraine, through different communications channels.
In spring 2019 UA:PBC launched an innovative format of presidential debates: the candidates with more or less equal ratings were invited to the studio, the speaking time was strictly regulated, candidates’ answers to the questions were immediately checked by experts and resultsannounced in the studio.
Anybody could vote through the website or by phone. VisonLINK system aggregated poll data from the telephony and website to analyze and instantly deliver the results to the studio screens, on air and online — the solution is integrated with the channel’s character generator. All votes of the viewers who actively participated in the most objective show of the country, demonstrated the real opinion of the channel’s audience.
“To cut off multiple votes from the same phone number, the system would answer the second call with a message “Thanks, you’ve already voted” and cancel any following attempts to fake the poll results”, commented Vitaliy Zaikin, VisionLINK Product Manager.
“During the debate with a candidate who had been related to the intelligence service, we overcame an attempt to fake the poll results with thousands of bot calls which almost crashed the system. We sorted it out and eliminated the fake calls.”
“We want to continue working with Internews to keep on with the program”, comments Kateryna Feleniuk, the Executive Producer of The Countdown. “According to the results of monitoring supported by the Council of Europe, The Countdown was recognized as the most balanced talk show among 10 national channels! We are not related to any political powers. We invited objective experts who would ask equal questions to each guest. We do have big competitors – commercial channles, but we stand out with our honesty. Our advantage has been built by professional unbiased fair-minded experts who voiced their own opinion. We did want to involve viewers to add interactivity to the debates, and we made it possible.”
The audience was involved through multiple channels: in studio, online and by phone. The viewers in studio could raise hands, ask questions and get anwers from the candidates. During the show the TV audience can take part in polls online. Older viewers, who live in distant regions with no or weak internet, had an opportunity to call through mobile channels provided by local mobile cell operators Kyivstar, Vodaphone and LifeCell.
«It’s a real cool thing when viewers can make difference to what’s happening in the studio,” said Kateryna.
“VisionLINK provides two-way communication between the broadcaster and the audience,” adds Vitaliy Zaikin. “The television has changed and will never be the same. The digital audience is growing and young people prefer to watch content on mobile devices or computers. At the same time older generation is not hurrying to quit their favorite TVs. It’s great that they all do want to impact! We are happy there are shows like The Countdown where viewers of all ages can be involved and influence. We appreciate UA:PBC’s trust in our product, admire their progress and wish their team even more success