At 3pm and 9pm EST, between 400,000-1,000,000 iPhone and Android users drop what they are doing and turn to their phone screens in a way yet to be conceived by any digital venture. Like Muslims praying during Salah, the twice daily game show application, HQ Trivia, has amassed a religiously loyal audience; a cult following that the Twittersphere has dubbed the HQ-uties. The online start up and newest brainchild of the Vine Guys, has solidified its placement on the App Store Top 10 in a matter of months since inception and if you aren’t playing yet, social pressure and trending hashtags will make an adopter of you soon…like it or not. The game itself is nothing novel, as trivia aptitude exchanged for a cash prize has been the lifeblood of the gaming industry since Alex Trebek accepted answers in question form. But, it’s not about being first, it’s about being best, and HQ and beloved on-screen host @ScottRogowsky have achieved the duality to perfection. Their success doesn’t rest on the laurels of the game, rather, the accessibility and inclusiveness of the interface on which it’s played. For the first time, a game show has eliminated the per usual barriers to entry, as all one needs is a phone and Wi-Fi to take a shot at the prize. HQ Trivia is the Netflix of the long-suffering game show industry, understanding that convenience and design reigns supreme in the current business climate. Their success, albeit early, is just the tip of the ice berg as we are watching the embryo of the most successful game show the world will ever see, develop right in real time. Download it now.
While it doesn’t have the rags-to-riches narrative of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the shock value of walking into the “Cash Cab,” or the gimmicky vanity of “Wheel of Fortune,” HQ’s competitive edge stems from a resource yet to be utilized by a Game Show…mobile technology. We are looking at another case study of the value a cell phone can provide for the savvy entrepreneur willing to buck the century old norms. And while the App isn’t making a single dollar yet, the voucher Intermedia Labs is carrying will be substantial when the ad-based revenue streams are inevitably opened. The issue with game shows has always been the fraction of fans who actually get to play. Sure, the impression volume and home audience for the aforementioned titans is massive, but there is never any real skin in the game unless your ass in the hot seat. Like the lottery, HQ has created an enigma that allows every single person the opportunity to win, where luck has been prevailingly replaced by skill. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I’ve always wanted to sit across from Regis Philbin and test my wits, but I have admitted to myself that my pipe dream will never be actualized. HQ has created the opportunity for just that, removing Excalibur from the age old stone and identifying the fleeting emotional cord “couch players” have been eagerly waiting on for decades. This will be their winning ticket. Here’s why.
Recently, a video went viral that showed a lady reaching nirvana as she out foxed the fox and made it all the way through question 12. The internet was quick to expose the meager cash price she took home, as HQ enables a pot-split between every user that makes it to the finish line. While the cash prize for the 3pm game was $2,000, Player X’s cash out was just $11.30. I reckon her excitement was left intact though, as she finally scaled Everest after trying the ascent daily for weeks. The viral video goes to show that the masses are logging in for reasons other than pelt. The real currency in the digital bank isn’t the amount of impression’s you can garner, it’s the emotional depth of your engagement.Muscle is 4x heavier than fat, and the same ratio holds true for engagement vs. impressions in the online sphere. Solidifying clout isn’t a numbers game as one might assume, as the real value is found in audience loyalty, and an influencers ability to engage their audience. 1000 eyes don’t even hold a candle to 10 fingers when it comes to phone screen business, but HQ boasts the unicorn that is a 1:1 ratio. With Google Ad words, sure, you can advertise across the broadband, but if people aren’t buying, your ROI will be infinitesimal. The fact that winning big money isn’t even on the agenda for HQ-uties eludes to how successful the game will be if bragging rights are prized enough. In essence, HQ is shooting 100% from the foul line, doing something that NO other app is doing. The number of viewers on the top left-hand corner of your screen aren’t the window shoppers, they account for the total number of customers the “store” is creating. In a world flush with voyeurism, those that can engage and provoke participation will win the day. HQ is one of a kind in their sphere, and perhaps, on a much, much, much broader level. It’s a rare case study of demand being met by supply to exactitude. No viewers. All users. I’ll see the one million of you for quemero, numero uno shortly.