Mako Keshet

Rising Star

We have been working with the television format Rising Star for a number of years as the developers of the technology that enables viewers at home to raise a screen by voting to pass a contestant. This technology has become the hallmark of the format and has received international coverage and worldwide acclaim. Amazon Web Services (AWS) even published a full case study on the product and the application we developed.

Rising Star is the television format that later became the Rising Star for Eurovision. The show is broadcast on Israel’s largest television franchisee, Keshet.

Rising Star is a trailblazing interactive talent format that creates MUST SEE viewing by bringing together large audiences for a collective, active television experience. Hailing a new era in home entertainment, its inception marked a world first as the only talent show in which an unlimited number of viewers are able to determine the narrative in real-time.

During each episode of Rising Star, home audiences decide who will advance in real-time via the show’s free voting app, while individual viewers’ pictures appear on the large screen facing the performer and judges vote simultaneously by hitting their buttons in the studio. When the performer reaches the designated voting percentage the screen rises and the new star is revealed.

In Israel, Rising Star is not only the most watched music show in the country but also the most watched show of 2017, and is now in its sixth series for Keshet 12. Season five discovered the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Netta, helping to triple Eurovision’s viewership and popularity. 

The application we developed is hermetically and precisely synchronized with the live broadcast, due to the unique, real-time technology we developed. During every performance of a contestant, the vote is opened to all at-home viewers at precisely the same time as what is happening during the television broadcast. The viewers decide whether to pass the contestant by raising the screen when enough votes are received to pass the required threshold. The results of the viewers’ votes at home and the percentage and level at which the contestant is at during the performance are displayed live on the screen throughout the voting.

The format and application of Rising Star changed the viewing experience, with the viewers at home becoming active users interacting on their mobile’s screen and influencing the live show.

Behind the scenes of the Rising Star Technology

Hundreds of thousands of users in real time

The most significant challenge in the product development process was the need to handle hundreds of thousands of users performing the same action at the same time while simultaneously displaying the results on the screen during a live broadcast. This challenge didn’t allow us time to process the data after storing it, so we had to implement all the security mechanisms while storing the votes and while the users were responding in real time.

Unlike standard digital products, in which the actions of users are spread over time, in the Rising Star app, all actions are performed at precisely the same time as the broadcast: opening the vote, the users voting, closing the vote, and more. Developing the product in the face of these challenges required us to implement different development processes from those usually used in order to minimize and reduce the actions and processes performed on the server end while not compromising the security processes that verify every vote coming from a user who has been properly authenticated.

Server environment and load testing of the product

Bugs and malfunctions of most digital products can be dealt with when updating software versions from time to time. However, during live broadcasts, there is only one opportunity, and the ability to deal with malfunctions is reduced to only a few percent. As such, during the development process, we performed load tests, stress tests, and simulations of Edge scenarios with hundreds of thousands of users performing different actions with the app at precisely the same time.

The load tests were designed to examine how the product we developed behaves in different situations and how the load environment and databases cope with the number of requests and amount of data. We performed the load tests using various tools, and we also developed special, specific original tools in order to achieve a situation that simulates as closely as possible the real situation of a live broadcast. 

ניסוי הכלים שערכנו יום לפני הגמר, הצופים בבית הרימו את המסך בשידור חי

The smart server environment that we set up and the unique development that allows for the environment to grow and shrink as simply and as quickly as possible so it can deal with hundreds of thousands of users simultaneously were very successful and received many positive reviews, all due to the environment’s effectiveness. In this way, a maximum utilization of resources is saved, which saves hundreds of thousands of shekels in server expenses for transmission 

Despite the strict tests and simulations that we performed, we have prepared for different Edge scenarios and set up backup mechanisms in case of server failures or malfunctions resulting from factors beyond our control. These preparations included storing and organizing data at several centers to ensure our ability to access the data even in complex, difficult situations.

User Experience

The process of developing and creating the user experience for a second screen is also different from UI UX processes for standard digital products, as our users perform actions in the application while watching the broadcast. These actions are an additional process to the act of viewing – the application is not the main thing. We have to make sure the viewer remains focused on the broadcast and still provide him the experience and feelings through the digital product.

This process included research, testing and trials of different interfaces on a variety of focus groups, and only then selecting the user interface in accordance with the responses and use of the focus groups.

הפרומו לעונת הכוכב הבא לאירוויזיון 2019

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