ShapeShifter TV — Where Viewers Control The Action Through SMS

British broadcasters have plans to implement a new technology which allows viewers to influence drama storylines via text message during the program, reports Guardian Unlimited behind a registration screen. It seems the drama creators have finally succumbed to the user-gen model…
Viewers influencing the direction of a show by voting has been around for years, but this service happens while the show is broadcast. “In Accidental Lovers viewers are asked to text their opinion on a love affair between a 61-year-old cabaret singer and a male pop star 30 years her junior. The text messages, analyzed for keywords by computer but also guided by human moderators, are displayed along the bottom of the screen and the technology prompts different layers of voiceovers, captions and scenes to be displayed according to their content. The progress of the affair is also represented by a graphic in the corner of the screen.” The sophistication of the programs are expected to improve as broadcasters experiment — there have already been internet-based shows where users direct the scenes individually, and I suspect it’s only a matter of time before technology allows users to tailor the show on the screen to themselves. The shows cost more to make but can be repeated more often because they change every time.
On a slightly more worrying note, “the concept is also being applied to other genres, including news and documentaries”…