PCC service missionary Elder Del Nebeker, a retired researcher and university professor, said the center recently purchased 30 wireless perception analysis devices and the accompanying software to enable selected guests to provide second-by-second approval ratings of the show.
He explained that about three times a week the guests continuously rate the show with a dial that, for this purpose, is set from zero-to-100, with 50 being neutral. They are trained "to move the dial without looking at it, because we also want them to be able to watch the show."
"In addition to a computer reporting what their ratings are second-by-second, a [line] graph of the sum average of all those ratings is calculated and superimposed over a video that's being taken of the live event, so that we have a moment-by-moment trace of their overall reaction to what is being actually seen by the audience," said Elder Nebeker, whose ancestor, Elder George Nebeker of the Church's Sandwich Islands Mission, was involved in the 1865 purchase of Laie plantation.
Delsa Moe, PCC director of cultural presentations whose management team and others have been studying the data, said early results clearly identify "five things the audience really likes" about the new night show: fire, children, Tahitian dancing, battle scenes and tender moments.
"This is very, very helpful. Before we had this, there were so many comments and people shared their opinions," Moe said, "but now we see the data. The data show one of the powerful points in 'H? is the death scene. There were some people who felt it was out of place, but the audience likes it. Once we reported this, there was no more push back on the death scene."
In addition to the night show, the technology will be used to fine-tune other PCC operations. For example, Sister Moe said it could help village demonstrators know if what they are saying is of interest to the guests, "and where exactly they need to improve," And Elder Nebeker said it could be used for test marketing materials and food served in the restaurants.
"There's a lot we can do, but we always want to make sure there's value, that it's helping make improvements," he said. "The goal of all of this is very simple: What can we do better? It's not about technology or doing sophisticated analyses."
"Every source and method of data has a story to tell, but they don't tell the whole story. To get the whole story, we need to use other sources as well. We will continue to need paper and Internet surveys, interviews and other things of that nature."
"Still, this is a new era of data collection at PCC."