Creating the interactive live shows of the future

HOFr and Sventertainment are using the Sye Streaming Service by Net Insight to launch next generation interactive live app experiences

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 18 September 2018
Creating the interactive live shows of the future

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2018 issue of The Record.

HOFr and Sventertainment are two companies that are focusing on launching next generation interactive live app experiences. Pivoted around a specific show or event, these apps enable social interaction between the host and viewers, with questions and answers delivered to the entire audience.

However, the introduction of this type of app to the market was inhibited by several common challenges, one of which was how to guarantee that everyone received the question and answers at the same time. With traditional streaming solutions there is no easy way of doing this. HTTP live streaming solutions are built to buffer on the player side. Latency is introduced and the sync between different players and devices is lost. A question can be delivered with 30-40 seconds difference, making it impossible to compete on the same terms.

HOFr and Sventertainment also wanted to include chat in their experiences, keeping a dialogue between the show host and the audience. To make sure that this dialogue runs smoothly, they needed a solution that would deliver the stream as fast as possible to the viewers with a fixed delay. The two companies also needed a solution that was highly scalable and that could handle flash-crowds of hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers.

To ensure a fair live game show, all players must receive the questions and answers at the same time and video, audio, and questions must all be in perfect sync. In a rapid-fire game, such as Sventertainment’s interactive live trivia show Primetime, the slightest delay can kill a player’s chances. Primetime and HOFr both picked the Sye Streaming Service from Net Insight, as it could guarantee the sync of all elements – audio, video, and metadata – across all devices, networks, and locations.

Streaming to millions of users is expensive – and the cost grows with the length of the show. Reducing latency helps optimise show duration, keeping delays – and streaming costs – to an absolute minimum. Sye delivers the ultra-low latency needed and goes one step further. By allowing fixed streaming latency controls, Sye gives HOFr and Primetime the power to set precise show timing. Each show becomes a tight, smoothly running operation, with no need for fillers.

Social engagement and interactivity are key to game show success. The friendly banter between hosts and audience, or audience members helping each other, creates a community and a sense of togetherness. But for smooth conversation, the streaming solutions must stream video, audio, and text as fast as possible, as well as synchronised across all devices. Again, Sye’s unique combination of perfect sync and ultra-low latency, guarantees the best possible interaction between hosts and players.

Modern game shows attract flash crowds. Millions of concurrent viewers can appear at once and be gone again in 15 minutes. While traditional CDNs struggle to cope with such spiky demand, cloud-based streaming solutions have a big advantage. The Sye Streaming Service is built in the Microsoft Azure cloud and designed to support different scaling schemas. This means platforms like HOFr and Primetime can dynamically scale up or down to match demand, before, during and after each show, using resources only when they need them.

Timing is critical to run a live quiz or prediction show but it is also important to remember the video quality. A large part of the audience will leave the show if they receive a spinning wheel or if the picture quality is just too poor. Sye, having UDP based streaming with built-in resilience as first line of defense against packet loss together with adaptive bit rate support (ABR), keeps everyone in the game, at the best quality possible.

The results have been very positive. Sventertainment’s interactive live trivia show, Primetime launched in Sweden in March 2018 and is now expanding across Europe with Germany and Switzerland next. The app is ranked as #1 in its category in the Swedish app store, growing rapidly every week. Primetime has seen tremendous success so far, with exponential growth – trending on all platforms. Sventerteinment choose Sye Streaming Service to support their journey of becoming the platform of choice for interactive live experiences. Having launched their first app they are now confident that they have all key features that they require to continue their journey: perfect sync, ultra-low latency, and scalability.

HOFr launched its sports app during the final playoffs of the FIFA World Cup, 2018. With game show host Patrice Evra, HOFr immediately tapped into a global audience. Riding the success of the World Cup show, HOFr is relying on Sye Streaming Service to expand their concepts to other sports and regions, launching new live prediction shows aligned with major sports events later this year.

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