It’s in our nature to root for someone.
We cheer for our favorite team in the finals, we celebrate if our favorite movie wins the big prize, and we even hope the hero succeeds in our favorite television show. With this in mind, our involvement in reality competition shows only seems natural. We get to use our voice, by voting, to decide the outcome of a show. We get to select the winner.
Though it sounds like a democratic system, the actual process lacks authenticity. If you really think about it, we never really know the exact amount of votes or voters who participated. Though the hosts may state the number on the show, there is no visual record for viewers to see.
Take for instance American Idol. The first season was very transparent of the number of votes cast. The finale received 15.5 million votes with Kelly Clarkson gaining 58 percent. The second season followed suit. The finale received 24 million votes. It was stated winner Ruben Studdard received 134,000 votes more than runner-up Clay Aiken. These results were very straightforward.
As the seasons went on, the total number of votes escalated. By the tenth season, the show received approximately 750 million votes. This is due in part to texting, social media and online voting. With the addition of voting directly through an app or Google search, fan participation has lost its way.
Competition shows need to be more honest with their fans. Not by the amount of votes going in, but who receives and casts the votes. The chaos with too many different voting platforms can easily cause the program to lose its credibility. These shows, or possibly the networks, can create a single dApp for their fans. With a universal dApp, the contestants, fans and producers would know the exact number of people who voted.
This dApp could also have a smart contract connected to prevent excessive voting. The different methods of participation gives one person multiple attempts at casting a vote. Depending on the network or program, the smart contract can prevent someone from voting over five times, or even one time. Limiting the amount of votes gives the fans and contestants a more accurate and fair view of the outcome.
In order to implement the element of surprise, most shows keep the results hidden. This is understandable since it acts as a booster for ratings. However, there are different ways programs can release results to the public.
By using the results from the dApp, a program can choose to show the total after a contestant is announced to be safe or eliminated. The other way would be to either broadcast the results at the end of the show or post them online. All results would be accessible directly on the dApp as well.
Since these shows are meant to be interactive, fans are being cheated by the lack of transparency. Instead, fans are left wondering if their votes even mattered. While some shows like, Dancing with the Stars and The Voice, have staying power, other shows need to understand how to simplify voting for their fans. This is only a growing issue, and if it isn’t solved, viewers might start gravitating towards less-interactive programs like The Bachelor or The Amazing Race.