Where Is This Live Trivia Thing Going?

Jan 30, 2018


Adam Blacker

Jan 30, 2018

VP, Insights

The new trend (or maybe fad) is live trivia game shows that give away money. What is this really all about though? Is it the fact that you can win money? In part, but there are plenty of other ways to do that with you phone and at a time of your choosing. Is it about the show’s main host, Scott Rogowsky? He seems decent enough but I doubt it. Is it the live and interactive TV format? I think so, which means the trivia aspect is merely a conduit and HQ as is, won’t sustain its current level of success.

Heck, not much lasts forever in the app world. History tells us the shiny object rises to the top and then falls. We’ve seen it with Sarahah and every game Voodoo and Ketchapp create. While more popular than Sarahah, HQ is simply a shiny object… unless it can grow into something more based on its tech and format. The game show has been in and out of the top 10 ranked games for awhile now and has performed admirably when you consider that games last an average of only 1.3 days in the top 10 App Store ranks.

It even has decent user retention - Apptopia estimates that on average, 10% of people who download the app are still playing a week later. The top 10 percent of games in the Trivia category average 7% for the same time frame.

A rising tide floats all boats

Trivia Crack has always been a popular game on mobile but the very success of HQ has caused Trivia Crack and a few other traditional trivia apps to increase in downloads and usage. It created a desire to play trivia (maybe practice) and HQ only puts on 1-2 games a day.

A couple of non-traditional competitors have also sprung up. The Q was the first competitor I noticed. This is essentially the same thing as HQ but with less players and less prize money. The Q has diverged in that it has already started to test out advertising monetization and introduce themed games. HQ has been pulling some serious numbers per game for a while now and has not executed any legitimate monetization efforts. It feels too cautious an approach for something that could lose its shine soon.

The other main competitor is Cash Show which is published by Zentertain. You may have heard of Zentertain through its most popular app, Word Connect.  While I’m not sure how it plans to monetize, Cash Show already has strong numbers for its live trivia rounds.

The app runs up to four shows a day and has individual questions worth money in addition to the main pot. While the game is live, the host is not. There is a pre-recorded segment to start each show and the host really plays up the term “cold hard cash.” I will say the pre-recorded host is nowhere near as good as any of the live hosts I’ve seen. The benefit of not having a live host is that it removes the glitches and errors that HQ runs into.

The visual design of Cash Show makes me feel like I’m playing slots in a casino. Casino games are some of the most popular and lucrative on the app stores. If Zentertain figures out a way to monetize this, and keep in mind they do not have to pay a host and they already make money elsewhere, it will have longer term success than HQ as it pertains to a live trivia game. It took months for HQ to jump ahead of Trivia Crack in app store ranks. It took less than a month for Cash Show to jump ahead of HQ.

In addition to these live trivia game shows, there are a lot of apps that do well on the promise of earning or saving people money. Think about Dosh, Flipp, Sweatcoin, Mercari, Poshmark, letgo and OfferUp. To a lesser extent, Uber Driver and Lyft Driver could be considered as well. All of this begs the question; Is your user acquisition budget better spent on advertisements or paying your users? Which is more cost effective?

Have thoughts? Tweet me, @AdamBlacker25

Adam Blacker

VP, Insights