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This weekend’s debut of Saturday Night Live Polska is notable for two key reasons: this is the first time that NBCUniversal’s Saturday Night Live format has been adapted for Central and Eastern Europe, and this is the first time that video on demand service Showmax has added live streaming capabilities to the platform.
In Warsaw, tensions ran high as the clock moved towards 9pm on 2 December. The cast and crew of Saturday Night Live Polska nervously waited for the curtain to be raised in front of the live studio audience for the first outing of the world-famous SNL format in Central and Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, Showmax’s technical team braced themselves to flip the switch for the company’s first live-streaming event following months of preparation .
In the end, no lines were fluffed, no cues were missed and the streaming worked exactly as planned. The show was hosted by Piotr Adamczyk and featured a cast of 11 well-known actors performing skits in the traditional edgy SNL style, poking fun at political and religious figures alike.
Speaking about the debut of SNL Polska, Akash Bhatia, Showmax Chief Financial Officer and member of the project team, said:
“As an American, I grew up on SNL – it’s become part of our cultural identity. Working with NBCUniversal and the Showmax Poland team to bring the format to Central Europe was a privilege but also brought an extra layer of anxiety. The show is of course famous for airing live, which is something Showmax had never done before.
“Our engineering team pulled off a massive coup, turning Showmax from an on-demand only platform to having live-streaming capability in just three months. In addition to all the late nights and weekends worked to get us to this point, the engineering team also had a fully staffed war room working through the night on Saturday to make sure everything ran smoothly.”
SNL Polska streamed live simultaneously on YouTube and on www.showmax.com. The show was then uploaded to Showmax for on-demand viewing.
“As the world increasingly moves to on-demand viewing and binge watching, it’s refreshing to do a live show and it’s going to be interesting to see how the numbers pan out between live and recorded views. Either way, this is an important milestone for Showmax as we can now look to apply the live-streaming capability to other events,” said Bhatia.
Saturday Night Live Polska airs every Saturday at 9pm, each show lasting 45 minutes. In total there will be 15 episodes this season.
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