I was asked recently if HQ, the mobile-exclusive quiz show where viewers answer questions for the chance to win real money, is a fad. After all, it has all the trappings of a fad. What started out as a white hot obsession has led to HQ getting lucrative sponsorships from major studios and cultural references galore, but it could be seen as repetitive. Users may get bored, leave the app and move onto something else.
HQ’s doing what it can to evolve by introducing social features and even bringing celebrities like Dwayne Johnson into the live stream to promote his latest movie, but the app itself may very well be a fad. The one thing that won’t be a fad is shared entertainment.
Shared entertainment is as old as broadcast itself. It goes back to the days of broadcast radio, but this evolution of shared entertainment is different.
Live entertainment is no longer a lean back, take it in experience. Viewers expect to participate as much as spectate, and whether the experiences are mobile-first like HQ or mobile second such as The Oscars, people want to take part.
Obviously, HQ has tapped into this latent desire, generating 1.9 million players during the Super Bowl halftime show alone. Facebook has done what it can to secure streaming deals for live sports for its Watch platform. This includes securing the streaming rights for several MLB games that will be as social as they are anything else, allowing viewers to interact while watching games.
Even when the options to share aren't built into the experience, users are quick to lean forward on their own. The Oscars are as much about the memes that come out of the event as the awards themselves.
Stealing the Show
The ability to interact and connect through digital channels as made live viewing more vibrant than ever. Whether it’s interacting directly with the show like HQ or indirectly by joining a social conversation, viewers are the ones stealing the show.