How Zender lets a 3,4 M audience participate in 'The Passion'

Zender is proud to power the online part of the The Passion, a live television musical that features a modern rendition of the Passion of Jesus Christ.

The event takes place on March 29th at 20:30 CEST in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and consists of an open air musical, a live TV broadcast on NPO1 and a a virtual procession on

The cross approaches the stage in the 2017 edition of The Passion. Photo: Willem Jan De Bruin

The cross approaches the stage in the 2017 edition of The Passion. Photo: Willem Jan De Bruin


The audience can virtually ‘walk along’ in the procession by sending an e-card with their motivation to participate in the event. The card is then portrayed online, and senders can share it on Facebook, which results in extra viewers for the show.  Last year, tens of thousands of e-cards were sent, and Zender is proud to once again provide the platform to make this interactivity happen.

Zender, a white-label editorial platform for interactive live content, is well suited for this type of events. It has the technical capacity to deal with sudden peaks of usage, as well as the workflow management in the backend. The editorial team at The Passion can easily manage and moderate all the elements of such a large interactive happening.

The Passion is the largest event of the year for us, reaching over 3 million people. It’s important that we work with a reliable partner for such an endeavour, and we completely trust the team at Zender. Not only do they help with the creative side, but we’re especially happy that we can rely on their technical expertise. Year after year, they deliver a smooth interactive experience. When you go live for such a large audience, you can’t afford anything to go wrong.
— Paul De Vos, EO

Appointment viewing through the ages: how The Passion fits in a long tradition

The Passion is a modern version of the Passion Plays or Easter pageants that have been around since the Middle Ages as a traditional part of Lent in several Christian denominations. Lent is the time between Carnival and Easter where Christians traditionally abdicate from certain pleasures to prepare for the resurrection of Jesus at Easter, and engage in prayer, penance, and self-denial. It goes without saying that the tradition of staging a play during that time was a welcome diversion, which at the same time heightened the communal religious spirit. An appointment not to be missed!

Modern day appointment viewing happens also happens when people tune in to consume content at a particular time, either on TV or on mobile.

The Passion, as a musical and interactive format, combines the 3 key features of appointment viewing as described by David Kleeman of research firm Dubit:

  • creates urgency/scarcity,

  • emotional scheduling to fans' needs

  • shows community.

The Passion consists of 3 parts, and each art corresponds nicely with Kleeman’s list:

  • First, there is the actual procession where the cross is carried through De Bijlmer, a multicultural and diverse  part of Amsterdam, and delivered to the stage where the musical is performed. The sense of urgency/scarcity is obvious as this physical event only takes place once a year.

  • Then, there is the TV show where the spectacle can be watched at home - or in this case, in many communal viewings on large screens as well. This is emotional scheduling to the need of the people who can’t attend the event in person.

  • The third part, the virtual procession happens entirely online,  and has a wonderfully vibrant and contemporary feel. Here, all participants celebrate and show community.

For more information: check out or contact if you'd like to launch a similar interactive format for your channel or brand.

Hendrik Dacquin