powers social TV for Al Jazeera English

Technology & Convergence

OSLO, Norway — Nov. 13, 2011 — today announced that Al Jazeera English used's Interactivity Suite (IS) to enable Social TV by taking viewer questions; displaying Twitter, Facebook, and email comments; and conducting on-air polling during live coverage of the 9/11 memorial broadcast. The real-time flow of social commentary and polling input allowed presenters to adjust their questions accordingly during live interviews.'s technology allowed viewers to become a social part of the programming, which in turn helped Al Jazeera present content that was most relevant to them.

With IS, the Al Jazeera production crew could take viewer questions or ask questions by publishing them to Facebook and presenting them on air. Viewers could then vote using Facebook or email. From there, the crew was able to publish the results, change the course of on-air interviews, and push questions back to the audience in real time — a powerful Social TV programming feedback loop that built strong viewership and ratings for Al Jazeera.

"IS features, such as real-time social media integration, live editorial control, and instant publishing to on-air graphics systems, gave us new ways of interacting with the audience without any complicated issues of ingesting dynamic data into our live production environment," said Sarah Worthington, head of output at Al Jazeera English. "Being able to incorporate the social experience into our live 9/11 memorial coverage enriched the broadcast and brought an irreplaceable personal perspective to our coverage."

Al Jazeera English used's cloud-based IS service during 9/11 memorial weekend, and it has now extended the IS installation for an even more thorough integration with its broadcast systems, enabling increased control and seamless live Social TV workflows.

The IS is a tool kit for creating the technical backbone of interactive broadcasts and Social TV experiences. IS supports true Social TV by enabling viewers to influence a broadcast in real time and by allowing them to interact with one another and the rest of the world. With IS, a broadcaster can effortlessly aggregate user-generated content from social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook into programming, and even build synchronized companion apps that enable viewers to interact with their televisions using an iPad® (or tablet), PC, or smartphone.

"Gradually, major broadcasters such as Al Jazeera English, which is increasingly viewed as the global leader in news coverage, are recognizing the importance of engaging their audiences during such important events as the 9/11 anniversary," said Lars Lauritzsen, CEO. "The Al Jazeera team was very quick to understand the potential of Social TV. We are thrilled to see our Interactivity Suite serving as their tool of choice in this highly dynamic and emerging space."