Here’s How HQ Trivia is Finally Monetizing its Massive Audience



The viral app’s recent partnerships allowed for the biggest cash jackpot yet, $250K, plus some sleek Nike Air Max 270s.


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People have been wondering how (and when) HQ Trivia, the viral game show app that regularly commands live audiences of 1MM+, would monetize. Two major sponsorships just dropped that indicate how HQ Trivia will scale moving forward.

The first brands to partner with HQ Trivia are Nike and Warner Brothers.

The deals come on the heels of a $15 million funding round for parent company Intermedia Labs, which closed earlier this month.

For those unfamiliar, HQ Trivia is a live mobile trivia game devised by two of Vine’s original founders, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, who came together and created a startup called Intermedia Labs, the now parent company of HQ Trivia.

All of the game’s questions are written by a team of writers, researchers, and fact-checkers, with each becoming increasingly difficult with each round. Players have 10 seconds, the limit intended to reduce time available to cheat, to answer questions and compete for a cash prize.

The game takes place twice a day, every day, at 9:00 p.m. (ET), and at 3:00 p.m. weekdays, hosted by New York-based comedian Scott Rogowsky.

Due to exponential growth seen since its launch this past August, the app now boasts notable audiences. For reference, 2.18 million people were reported to be on the app night of this year’s Academy Awards, the same day the $50,000 pot was split amongst six players.

The first of the two deals involves a $3 million three-part sponsorship in which HQ Trivia will promote three of WB’s movies, beginning with Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.” For this brand takeover, players of the game battled it out for a $250,000 cash prize, the largest to date.

Variety reports the second of the WB film releases targeted for a feature in HQ Trivia is the upcoming Dwayne Johnson film, “Rampage,” opening on April 13. (Maybe The Rock will make an appearance?)

HQ Trivia is also teaming with Nike to promote its Air Max line of sneakers. This past Monday, the app held a surprise 15-question game with a shared $100,000 prize. A tweet posted by HQ Trivia’s official account over the weekend was a key hint, depicting its logo alongside Nike’s infamous Air logo. Per TechCrunch, four winners split the cash prize and, in addition, 100 pairs of HQ-inspired Air Max 270 sneakers were given away.

As far as what’s next, back in November Yusupov told Variety, “If we do any brand integrations or sponsors, the focus will be on making it enhance the gameplay. For a user, the worst thing is feeling like, ‘I’m being optimized–I’m the product now.’ We want to make a great game, and make it grow and become something really special.”

In other words, per HQ’s founders, the goal of these partnerships is yes, to make money, but money that will be put towards offering bigger and better prizes and improving the overall experience as it inches closer to becoming primetime TV for our phones.

If you want to get in on the fun, the HQ Trivia app is free to download for both iOS and Android users.

To further explore the future of mobile, join us at SMWNYC (April 24-27) at the Sheraton Times Square. Secure your pass today.

Featured image via Time

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