NBC’s Million Second Quiz stumbles in effort to link mobile, TV
By Chantal Tode
September 12, 2013
The Million Second Quiz mobile app
NBCUniversal's attempt to leverage a mobile second-screen experience to help build excitement and awareness for its new live competition television show "The Million Second Quiz" stumbled when the application crashed soon after the show premiered.
The idea was to make The Million Second Quiz the first fully convergent social TV experience, with viewers able to leverage a companion app to tune in to a live stream of the show and play along in sync with the game during primetime. However, the app encountered performance issues and crashed on the night of the TV show's premiere, pointing to the need for marketers to be sure their apps can scale up for expected surges in use.
"App crashes are a serious problem, as they can create a bad spiral of negative reviews that lead to lower app store rankings," said Cezary Pietrzak, director of marketing at Appboy, New York.
"So while it's not ideal that Million Second Quiz app crash on the first night, not everything is lost," he said. "NBC can remedy the situation by sending viewers a push notification with an apology for the mishap.
"The company can also collect in-app feedback to gauge user opinions on a regular basis. Assuming the company is proactive in its outreach and continues to provide viewers with an enhanced viewing experience through its app, people will be much more willing to forget the glitch."
Mr. Pietrzak is not affiliated with NBCUniversal and spoke based on his experience in mobile.
NBCUniversal was unable to provide responses by the deadline.
The trivia game show made its debut on NBC on Sept. 9 at 8 pm ET and is running for 12 days without interruption online and for one hour in prime time.
The marketing strategy for The Million Second Quiz reflects the growing use of mobile devices to enhance the TV viewing experience and includes brand partnerships with Eveready, Subway and Orville Redenbacher.
Eveready is sponsoring the new Million Second Quiz app for iOS and Android, which was launched on Aug. 13 to begin to drive excitement for the game and saw more than 300,000 downloads and 11 million players before the on-air show made its debut.
App users can play along with the on-air show.
The free app integrates second-screen tools into the live TV experience, enabling at-home viewers to compete with friends or random challengers from across the country in rounds of 10 trivia questions.
Users play alongside on-air contestants from their homes and on their mobile devices, as they attempt to unseat on-air contestants for a spot on the show.
The Money Chair
The winner of each Bout earns points and control of the Money Chair, which is sponsored by Eveready. Players with the most points can qualify to be selected to play the game live on NBC.
For brands, the app enables them to reach and engage audiences in real-time before and during the program’s run.
Eveready is also sponsoring the app’s digital Countdown Clock and segments called Charged Moments that will feature highlights of each night’s broadcast from the previous 23 hours of competition.
A screenshot of the app
Subway has built a fully functional restaurant at the MSQ competition location for contestants. Additionally, Subway will be providing gift cards to contestants over the course of the game for a free $5 foot-long sandwich in September.
Subway is also offering photo opportunities and social media engagements for those waiting in line to play.
Subway restaurants will also send messages via Facebook and Twitter and will have a presence in the live stream both online and in the MSQ App.
Orville Redenbacher is sponsoring the giant on-air competition clock.
"When used as second screen, mobile devices can greatly enhance TV viewing by making it a more interactive and social experience. People are already checking into shows with apps like Glue and discussing what happens on TV via social media," Mr. Pietrzak said.
"A dedicated app can can centralize these existing behaviors, while providing custom functionality, such as voting on the show's winner or consuming special content," he said.
"Apps can also extend the show's experience long after it ends, which gives marketers a deep level of engagement that would otherwise not be possible."
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
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