Spike TV has tapped social TV app-maker Loyalize to power a live feedback loop for the Wednesday finale of Deadliest Warrior (airs 9:00 EST). The show will allow contestants to answer polls in real time, the results of which will appear instantly on screen, and an animated graphic will update to affect voting dynamically throughout the show. The audience’s interactions with the show’s hosts will alter the show’s outcome. “We’re closing a loop between the show and the audience in real time,” said Jon Slusser, SVP of Spike Digital Entertainment. In some ways, the inmates will be running the asylum.
Deadliest Warrior is one of Spike TV’s most popular shows, with around one million viewers each week. The show features a battle between two historical or modern warriors, with the hosts analyzing their weapons. About 800,000 of its loyal viewers are fans on Facebook, and there’s a video game and rumors of a movie. “It’s a true franchise,” said Slusser.
For its third season finale, Deadliest Warrior’s hosts will pose questions to the audience about different aspects of the fight. Rather than a “text your answer once and we’ll show the results after a commercial” type of poll, viewers can answer polls on a Loyalize-powered white label app or Web browser, optimized for mobile and tablet viewing. The results appear on-screen in real time; the hosts of the live show will react to the answers and mold their conversation around them. “We’re not just using social to promote the show, but bringing it in to the development of the show from the start,” Slusser said. Spike TV chose Loyalize to power its platform because of its instant results, he said. Other competitors’ products had a lag time before results could be displayed.
The fact that the show is live perhaps affects rewatchability, but Loyalize CEO Todd Greene said even those who don’t participate in the voting will benefit from the polling because they’ll be able to witness reactions that correlate directly to what’s happening on-screen. “It’s a video game approach that’s almost like watching a race,” he said.
It’s Loyalize’s first live event-focused project of this nature. Alongside the company’s official launch in April, it announced the Loyalize platform would host Motorola’s SocialTV Companion Service, a second screen TV-focused app. The company has raised $6 million in funding from its founders and angel investors, including Shahar Smirin, former CEO of Comverse Inc.