3 Rivers Products/ F-Program


Effectively test new or existing programs


'Untested doesn’t work' is a commonly used expression in technical environments. In the development of programs this is not yet common practice though. In many cases a lot of trust is put in a gut feeling, the experience of the developer and the know-how of the production company’s staff.

Yet we see that especially new players, notably Netflix and other OTT providers, increasingly rely on consumer data. We also see that there is less and less time to let a format flourish. At an increasing pace, programs with insufficient ratings are removed from the schedule. The time frames for which programs or series are commissioned decrease accordingly.


3Rivers, with many years of operational experience in media, has developed a service that enables program content to be tested prior to airing (or sales!).

Traditionally research companies offer the possibility to test content in a focus group or similar setting and observe potential viewers through recordings or one-way mirrors. This approach has some important disadvantages:

  • Selectivity of respondents: not everyone is willing to make the effort and travel to the research location;
  • Unnatural setting: watching a program in the company of other respondents differs greatly from the usual setting;
  • The group behaviour: some of the respondents will dominate and influence the group. A good moderator can reduce this risk, but it remains influential;
  • Only a limited number of people can attend. Often only the producer and the researcher of the production company attend to this session. The responsible content director in most cases does not.

F-Program solves a lot of these issues.

How it works – the recording

The respondent is invited to watch the content at home, on a self-decided time or as specified by our client. The respondent watches the program on his/her own PC or laptop. While watching, the webcam and microphone record the respondent's reactions. The respondent further has the possibility to indicate his/her appreciation of the content or if he/she would have 'zapped' away. The respondent is invited to express his / her comments at all times

All of this is registered with a link to the content’s original time-code. At the end, open questions related to the broadcasted material can be added. All broadcasted material is streamed and has several layers of content protection. Amongst these is a watermark unique to each respondent, linking the content to that particular person.

How it works – the report

All recordings from the respondent’s webcams are gathered and then shown in a matrix display. The original content is displayed in the centre (click on the image to enlarge).

The matrix display is interactive. Next to that, you can click on the picture of one of the respondents. By doing so, you will be able to hear what that person is actually saying. The content that is shown to them is also visible in a small frame.

The report includes a graphic representation of the respondents’ appreciation of the content over time. The answers to the open questions are clustered and a summary of the respondents’ demographics is added as well.


All data are stored in a database. Various programs from different genres and segments can be compared, leading to an indication of the formats potential success.


With F-Program, 3Rivers has developed a revolutionary method, enabling content creators and their management to test a program or pilot in a structured manner. Necessary adjustments can be made before a format goes on air. F-Program is a tool that can also be used in the organisation of the broadcaster or the content creation company itself. Finally, F-Program can be used when selling formats to third parties.

Other 3 Rivers products: F-Scan | F-Digital