Make it easy.
The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), founded by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro in 2001, is an American film festival, held in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, showcasing a diverse selection of independent films.
TFF had used paper ballots in previous years for its Audience Awards, but it was becoming difficult to count votes and prevent fraudulent voting (e.g. stuffing ballot boxes). Ascender worked with TFF sponsor Infor to build an application that was both secure and effortless for moviegoers.
Audience members would be encouraged to vote immediately after each film ended. If they had to install an app on their phones, a large number of votes would be lost. Ascender worked with Tribeca to create a web-based experience directly on the festival website. With this approach, there was nothing to download, no need to create an account, and it simple enough to cast a vote in seconds.
Without the typical voting safeguards, such as individually registering voters, Ascender had to get creative with an approach to prevent ballot-stuffing.
Each festival theater location was geo-tagged, and the film end times were stored in a database. Only the films that had finished within the last 30 minutes and whose theaters were within 0.2 miles of the voter would appear in the app for voting. IP addresses and browser cookies were stored to prevent users from voting for a film more than once.
Ascender provided on-site support during the festival to confirm the app worked properly. On one occasion, we discovered the geo-tagging radius needed to be increased to capture more voters. We were able to update the app from the lobby of the theater!
Over 138,000 moviegoers attended and voted on films the first year the app was used. We built a custom reporting dashboard to allow the Tribeca staff to view votes in real-time. TFF has used the app for Audience Awards in subsequent years, and has not returned to paper voting.
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