The HQ App: Perfect for a TV Station

Have you seen HQ?

I’m talking about the app called HQ.

Actually, I hadn’t seen it until my 34-year-old son showed it to me last week. It seems to be hot among millennials. Chances are GMs, station managers and news directors will say the same thing I did:  Why didn’t I think of that?

The concept is extremely simple, clever, live and engaging on an app. It’s a TV content model on a phone. It’s a live trivia game with a live host giving a series of 12 or so questions that get progressively harder. If you answer the question correctly, you go on to the next one. If you don’t, you’re eliminated but you get to see the next question. Remember, this is live, not some automated recording.

The winner gets $1,000.  If no winner, then it carries over. This weekend, it climbed to $7,000.

There are scheduled game times – 3 and 6 pm ET. You get a push alert and then open the app. After a countdown, a live host welcomes you, chats a bit and then sets up the first question. You get 10 seconds to answer the question and then the host comes back live to give you the answer, talks about how many folks got it right, and then may toss in a graphic or video. Then it’s on to the next question. (The first question is usually easy so it drives the participants to stay engaged.)

For now, it’s only available for Apple devices, but an Android version is in development.

Just think of the thousands of dollars station have paid for Facebook likes, which at the end of the day just made Mark Zuckerberg richer. In this case, offering a prize of a grand could increase your TV ratings and digital engagement and revenue on YOUR platform.

So simple.

Below are a series of screen shots that show you the process. As you can see, I only made it half way through.  Yes, I screwed up the Beats question. Duhhh.  But trust me, it’s engaging. Some users also add chats during the game as you can see in the screen shots.

You’re probably wondering how many folks play the game. In each of the games I played this past week, it ranged from 75,000 to 90,000 users, and topped 120,000 players Sunday night. Keep in mind the app is spreading virally – virtually no promotion or marketing. That’s not a bad number of people all engaged at the same time for this experience.

And it’s fast. You’re in and out in and out in a matter of minutes, but during that time you’re fully engaged. This is not a classic TV-watching passive activity.

TV stations need to figure out this concept. It’s perfect. Here are my thoughts about ways to engage the viewer with “forced” viewing with game that offers cash prizes.

  1. Instead of doing the Facebook lives during commercial breaks (which are just fillers with often times inane comments), do something like a version of HQ on a station app. With 6 questions, you can do it easily in a 2-minute break and even have one of your on-air folks host it. Make a few of the questions based on a story already aired and offer cash prizes. No winner, then it rolls over. This may encourage TV viewing as well as digital engagement. (Don’t do this on Facebook. Do it on a platform you own to promote your brand and you can sponsor.)
  1. Or do a local version of HQ around noon and make several of the questions based on your morning newscast with other trivia thrown in. This may encourage folks to watch more of your morning show.

The folks at HQ don’t seem to be monetizing it yet. It looks like they’re working on building a successful model. But you know it’s going to be perfect for brands targeting these demos.

For TV stations, pulling off something like HQ should be a breeze. The biggest challenge is creating the app with the game tracking software. You already have the talent, the content, the technical facilities – you can run it all through a PC, no control room needed.

Instead of building a similar app, it actually might be worth calling HQ to see if they’re interested in licensing their app for local co-branding and use.

We have a call in to the HQ folks to ask about their development plans. We’ll let you know when we hear back. Meanwhile, if you have questions or thoughts, or if I can help you with this, please let me know.

Here is more info about HQ. This is clearly a digital space stations need to look at. Who’s first?

By | 2017-11-27T14:34:36+00:00 November 22nd, 2017|CJ&N, Digital Strategy, Steve Schwaid, Strategy, TV stations, Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Today developing an effective digital media strategy is critical for revenue growth and brand-building. Steve is working with station groups, website developers, content suppliers, and others to in three key areas: social media, web and mobile. In addition, Steve puts his extensive television news expertise to work for clients helping them develop and refine their on-air product. Steve has led news operations in markets across the country including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Hartford and Tampa. In addition, he has served as an executive at the corporate level for NBC Universal and Meredith Local Media leading strategic growth and digital content initiatives. Most recently, Steve was vice president of news at WTXF, FOX Philadelphia where he took all newscasts from a fourth place position to second or first. Steve has also served on several industry boards and is the winner of many awards including the Georgia AP Best Website Award and numerous Emmy awards.