Are mobile apps giving the bookies the edge? Probably. #secondscreen #tv #xfactor

I’ve had a hunch for a long time and I think on Sunday night it was, with a fair probability, finally confirmed. This is more a brain dump of thoughts than anything with a cohesive conclusion…. take it for what you will.

Apps Produce Data, Got That, Good.

My interest in data goes back a long time, way before apps were a thing to be touted as a startup idea. I survived the J2ME years when applications were delivered by 4cm x 4cm screen. There was a time where this….


…was radical, I was there, it wasn’t pretty.  How times have moved on. Now we have things like smartphones, bigger screens, better experience. Yes time forwarded on and the advances in mobile technology did too. Connectivity got better and storage got cheaper.

Data creation, collection and processing got scalable, cheaper and much much faster. And that’s just one set of data, start mushing it with other data sources we have a rich mashup of stuff.

So what better use of these technological advances than the XFactor. Here me out, the data gets rather interesting I think.

Voting is data and data is money


This is data collection of the highest order it’s:

  • Rich data is direct from the viewer for free
  • In real time, there’s a two minute window per song even per second suddenly have 120 data points in a time series across n viewers.
  • GeoIP tracking, more than likely (though I am guessing) so there’s a good chance of knowing where abouts the viewer is. I see a heat map in the making.
  • Plus the five free REAL votes about who gets saved in the bottom three each Sunday.

And that’s me just scratching the surface. I’m sure there’s more metrics pouring out of this thing that I care to imaging. Tellybug seem to have got the second screen instant feedback down to a fine, slick, art.


Who has the edge?

They who have the data, have the edge” – Jason Bell, October 2016

I’ll park that there, it might come in useful one day. If you have data that no one else has then you have an edge on everyone else, simple. That might be in business or in this case, XFactor data on who’s going home.

A good example of having the edge in TV prediction markets was on the Great British Bake Off where some members of the production company, allegedly, were putting large volumes of cash against the winner from episode one. The betting was suspended as it become clear someone had the edge. To be fair as Bake Off is recorded in advance then plenty of people had the edge.

So last Sunday the bottom three were left in suspense, then some act was told they were saved, there was much surprise, shock and tears…. the rapping lady was not one of them. On Twitter though this happened four minutes after the reveal.


How did Betfred know this? The number of votes cast on the app…. a direct line to the data perhaps?

My conclusion, wrongly or rightly is this. The betting companies are buying in the data from either the production company or Tellybug and therefore gaining competitive advantage on the customers. To be honest it’s no different than any other outcome prediction. I could never figure out why the rapping lady’s odds on next elimination markets was so out there, Betfred (and others) already knew.

With the ratings system on the app a betting company can get the edge, it knows what the audience is thinking and as that audience in question is more than likely going to be voting then the odds can be generated with a fair form certainty.

Competitive advantage? Yes. Surprising? No. A good use of data? Absolutely.





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