Two days after The New York Times called quiz app HQ the “best worst thing on the internet,” the app reached a major milestone: 1 million viewers. It rose to fame in a somewhat tumultuous fashion as 2017 wrapped up and it became clear that the app was going viral: A PR snafu by one of the app’s co-founders, who threatened to fire the host of the quiz show, Scott Rogowsky, actually cemented Rogowsky as a new kind of internet celebrity. He even appeared on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”
For those who have yet to play HQ, the app is pretty simple to understand. At 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern most days, you can play a 12-question trivia app that includes a live host on video (usually Rogowsky). While it’s notable to see the idea of “appointment viewing” arrive to the world of apps, what’s most fascinating is the way it’s bridging generations with its disruptive new platform.
Here’s how: HQ is connecting the millennial and younger generations glued to their phones with the often wiser, older generations, who are used to game shows that air at specific times. Dan Rather, the iconic TV news host, played and won HQ with his grandson over Christmas and explained it this way: “But it wasn’t about the prize. It was about the process. We had worked together and across three generations, we just happened to have the right mix for this one edition of this one game.”
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Milton Berle became TV’s “first star”, helping set the course for the television experience becoming a centerpiece of the home. Nearly 70 years later, popular shows and their stars are still a major part of the cultural glue that connects us around the world. According to eMarketer, television still commanded nearly 80 percent of video viewing time in 2016. That share is going down, however, and digital video (primarily mobile) is on the rise.
HQ may not still be around in 70 years. But it will go down in history as a moment when viewers and consumers realized they can still swoon over a star with millions of other people — without needing to turn on their TV at all.
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