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Peel to capture reaction to debates via second screen

The social TV company Peel is launching a new feature inside its app that will enable viewers with Samsung tablets to react live to the Presidential debates. Last spring, Peel offered fans of American Idol to “boo” and “cheer” their favorite candidates “as if they were a member of the live audience,” and the feedback was so impressive that Peel said it created a similar experience for the upcoming debates.

Peel’s VP of marketing Scott Ellis told Lost Remote that the Idol experiment drove an average of 1,400 “points of feedback” per user per show — in other words, people were tapping the app like crazy. “I think we’ll get very passionate feedback this time around,” he said. “I think we’ll have a bunch of people that get into the five-digit range — over ten thousand.”

Here’s how it will work beginning with this Wednesday night’s debate. First, viewers must be armed with a Samsung Galaxy tablet, which comes pre-installed with Peel. They’ll receive a notification that the debate is about to begin, and when they open the app, they’ll be asked to choose which channel they want to watch (the app doubles as a remote control since the tablet is equipped with IR).

At the outset, viewers are asked if they plan to vote Democrat, Republican or undecided for president. As the debate gets underway, they can “cheer” or “boo” either of the candidates — as fast as several times a second. When the debate concludes, viewers are asked who they think won the debate, and if they’re feeling motivated, they can click a “donate” button to give via each of the candidates’ sites.

Users will be able to see the aggregate sentiment in real-time, but Peel says it plans to release a wealth of data after each debate. For example, a line graph will illustrate the ebb and flow of sentiment by Democrats, Republicans and undecideds. They’ll also map the graph to the debate’s biggest moments, and break down the data by battleground states (since the app knows the user’s zip code.)

“We’re really trying to bring a new level of personality and democratization to your living room,” Ellis said. When Peel releases the data, we’ll post an update here on Lost Remote.

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