×

Screenz Chairman Eli Uzan a ‘Rising Star’ in Global TV Biz

Eli Uzan, the 33-year-old chairman of Screenz, the cross-media digital powerhouse behind Israel’s popular, interactive singing format “Rising Star,” says he has about two years before old age tamps down his ability to think creatively. At least that’s what his favorite author, Douglas Adams, wrote in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” a book Uzan gives near-biblical status.

“Anything that is invented when you are between 15 and 35 is new and revolutionary,” Uzan summarizes. “But anything invented after you are 35 is against the natural order of things. So I think I’m scared to be old.”

Uzan began his career early, founding the Box group, one of Israel’s leading content and new-media firms, at the tender age of 21. He dabbled in physics courses in college, but left to focus on a career that applied technology, strategy and cross-media products in service to some of the TV industry’s biggest houses. Two years ago, he launched Screenz, and has partnered with several companies within the Israeli media landscape, including content giant Keshet, for whom he created the interactive technology behind “Rising Star,” the singing competition that launched here in 2013.

What sets “Rising Star” apart is its interactive app, which links home viewers to the live studio action. Decisions are announced in real time, allowing viewers and competitors an equal stake in the program and — critically — demanding auds tune in live in order to play along.

The giants of the tech world have been paying attention. Over the summer, it was announced Google and Screenz were partnering to host the Screenz Real Time Platform, a live, interactive infrastructure where broadcasters and format owners can build live events from their TV programs.

Bolstered by Google’s Cloud Platform, Screenz Real Time can reportedly process 100 million interactions per minute, making it ready for primetime in the biggest markets.

“If you, as a broadcaster, expect me as a viewer to be synced to your schedule, you need to be live. It will not happen if I am not part of the event,” Uzan says. “Linear TV is already dead. It just doesn’t smell yet.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content