Pixel Power reveals details of world's first Twitter-powered ad break



| 05 August 2015

Pixel Power has revealed its part in enabling UK broadcaster Channel 4 to offer what it claims was the world's first Twitter-determined commercial break.

YearsAndYears Still 2 copy smallAt around 9.45pm on 10 July 2015, viewers of the UK's fourth largest broadcaster were asked to choose which version of a music video — Shine from electronic pop trio Years & Years — they preferred.

The act's record label, Polydor Records, wanted a new and engaging way to launch the single so worked with Channel 4 to create three versions of the video, then let audiences choose their preferred treatment. The agency booked the whole of the centre break in the television show Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown for the commercial. The break started with one version full screen and the alternatives in small windows. Each had its own hashtag and viewers were encouraged to vote. Five times during the three and a half minute break the votes were tallied and the most popular video took its place full screen.

As this was all happening, social media company Spredfast was tallying the Twitter votes. As well as displaying the hashtags to vote for against each video the system was also screening some of the Twitter handles as they voted.

The broadcast graphics and automation solutions supplier says that this made for an immersive, engaging experience for the interactive audience as well as an exciting new way to launch the music. The interface was designed by Channel 4, with support from Pixel Power's creative services team to implement it. Barny Connell of Channel 4's broadcast operations team said "The [solution] and the ability to drive it from remote systems was key here, and the help provided by the Pixel Power guys was invaluable."