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In a region that has a high consumption of live talent shows, a pre-recorded show that isn’t live, with no viewer voting poses a challenge with regards to engagement. To compound the problem, the show launched on Saudi TV, a channel with limited reach compared to other regional broadcasters and with a conservative audience. MasterChef wanted to ensure the first season in the Middle East was a success.


We decided to use the second screen to deeply engage viewers beyond the on-air version. To keep our viewers interested, we had to bring them into the MasterChef experience as it happened. With a pre-recorded show, this meant creating strong emotional connections with the show’s stars by identifying, segmenting and engaging in viral threads of conversations. To give each episode a ‘live’ dimension, we tracked down the contestants and judges and connected our audience with them live each week, while the show was airing.


We designed a social ecosystem based on users’ social media and TV habits. This comprised a website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and a mobile app. It was paramount that we tailored and targeted content by platform, so that our viewers got a rich – and differentiated – experience across each digital touchpoint they encountered. Although the show was pre-recorded, our goal was to give viewers an experience that felt live. We achieved this by working with the judges and contestants as the show was being aired, facilitating audience’s questions, obtaining judges’ feedback on events, as well as have the judges give “fixes” and “how to” tips when mishaps happened on the show. This was backed up with recipes on mobile and on the website, along with show highlights, voting mechanisms and interesting background info on the judges and contestants that we knew viewers would be interested in. Digital monitoring was also essential to improve the production strategy. Through our social media listening tools, we monitored online conversations to understand who our advocates and influencers were, where the viral conversations were, what our viewers’ passion points were, as well as areas of feedback and development in season two.


With a winning recipe, MasterChef Arabia saw its reach increase by an average of 15% week-on-week. Our online communities grew organically to reach:

  • more than 25 million impressions
  • 500,000 YouTube views
  • 28,000 Facebook fans
  • 18,000 Twitter followers
  • More than 111,000 website visits
  • 500 organic mobile-app downloads