Back in around 2012 I went to an event at BBC MediaCityUK, which showcased various upcoming technologies the the BBC was working on. One of those which at the time seemed extremely ‘out there’ was that they were trying to find a way to track people’s reactions to television in real time, particularly their levels of attention and emotional engagement. This would not only allow them to get real time feedback on how viewers reacted to content, they might then be able to individually tailor content to viewers according to their interests and reactions.
So when I read this article about an app called Cinemmerse, which tracks heart rate and emotion via smart watches, I realised that we had suddenly reached the level of technology to make that possible.
The writer of the article didn’t seem convinced that film and television creators would actually be interested in that kind of feedback, but clearly companies have already already seen the potential. The Royal Shakespeare Company are currently using heart rate monitors as part of focus grouping for their current production of Titus Andronicus, which is an interesting idea as it’s an exceptionally gruesome production (although totally brilliant – I went to see it in the cinema earlier this month). This is allowing them to gauge the difference in reaction between the live audience and those watching cinema broadcasts. They’ll be releasing the results in November, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing if they discover some really interesting results.