HQ Trivia App on a phone's screen

HQ Trivia: Where Mobile, Digital and TV Collide, and Why Marketers Should Be Watching

“Do you want to be a millionaire?” For years, this notorious question has had many dreaming about playing and winning a game show. Well, wonder no more because HQ Trivia, a breakthrough smartphone app, is giving you, yes you, the chance to win real cash prizes! Since the app’s launch, people have been flocking to HQ to live out their game show fantasy, leading many to speculate if this is the future of TV in the cord-cutting era.

About HQ Trivia Game Show

HQ Trivia was created by Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, two tech entrepreneurs who are no strangers to viral internet trends. The pair is also known for founding the six-second video app Vine, acquired by Twitter in 2012 and shuttered in early 2017.

Every weekday at 3 p.m. and 9p.m. ET and at 9 p.m. on the weekends, HQ Trivia broadcasts a live 15-minute show in which app users—dubbed “HQties” by HQ’s beloved host Scott Rogowsky—have the opportunity to answer 12 multiple-choice trivia questions. The questions range from easy to hard and cover a vast range of topics, with a chance to win a cash prize. It’s free to sign up and anyone can play. In order to win, you must answer all 12 questions correctly; one wrong answer and you are eliminated from the game. All players who correctly answer every question then split the prize pool, which has ranged from $1,000 – $8,500 as of December 3rd, 2017.

Sounds fun, but why should marketers care?

HQ is being praised as “the future of mobile gaming and live-TV.” As people continue to abandon their cable subscriptions in droves, and spend more and more time on their tablets and smartphones, HQ sits comfortably at the convergence of mobile, digital and live-TV, ready to receive them. And, boy have they been.

I started playing about a month ago. HQ Trivia had just broken the record for their biggest game with approximately 80,000 starting players. Fast forward to Sunday, December 3rd. The game had more than 350,000 starting players, an increase of approximately 270,000 players in less than a month.

HQ Trivia Game Show Host

Even more surprising? HQ Trivia app has achieved this rapid growth solely through word-of-mouth. HQ incentivizes players to recruit newbies by rewarding them with extra lives when a new player signs up with your unique referral code (*cough* “luigimondi” for example *cough*).

Additionally, the HQ Trivia app is currently only available on iOS devices. It’s to be expected that once the Android version of the app is released (coming soon), a slew of new players will join in. I wouldn’t be surprised if HQ hits their first 1MM player game before the end of 2017.

HQ Trivia has developed the perfect blend of mobile, digital and live-TV that has HQties lining up and advertisers salivating at the chance to take a bite. 

How marketers can (eventually) fit in.

HQ Trivia app is currently funded by venture-capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, an early investor in Snapchat and also the source of HQ’s prize money until an advertising model is developed. Eventually, that funding will run out and, assuming HQ wants to transition into a revenue-generating business, some kind of monetization is bound to occur.

In an interview with Variety, Yusupov said that monetization is not currently a focus at HQ, though a bevy of marketers have reached out looking to collaborate. HQ Trivia has provided little detail on how the monetization might come to fruition, though Yusupov has said that any future brand integrations must enhance gameplay. I speculate that potential partnerships could take the form of branded questions or broadcasts, sponsored prizes or bonus rounds or extra lives funded by sponsors. With the freshness that is HQ, I imagine we’ll see sponsorships and advertising opportunities occur in a new and unique way that hasn’t been done before.

Though the future of HQ is looking bright, there’s still a level of uncertainty as the company continues to develop. One thing you can count on is BCM keeping its eyes on HQ for potential partnerships that will deliver our clients’ messaging to highly-qualified audiences in an authentic way.

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Luigi Mondi

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