[THE INVESTOR] Burying your head in your smartphone is nothing new, but this time it’s to join an online, interactive quiz show called Jam Live that’s been taking officer workers by storm.
The smartphone app holds shows twice a day, beginning at 12:30 in the afternoon, when most people have finished or are relaxing with lunch. Cash prizes are available, and like HQ Trivia in the US, Jam Live has mesmerized smartphone users here.
The mobile quiz show was developed by Snow, a spin-off of internet giant Naver. It gives away cash prizes up to 10 million won (US$8,985) -- usually sponsored by companies -- for each show to those who answer all 12 trivia questions correctly.
(From left) NBT CTO Kwak Keun-bong, Kim Moon-heon, lead developer of Snow, and Lee Dong-soo, director of NHN.
The prize is divided by everyone who wins, so the actual award is not that big. Despite it, the app attracts an average of 70,000 to 80,000 simultaneous viewers on weekdays and more than 110,000 on weekends. Seeing the potential, similar mobile quiz apps have quickly mushroomed. The Quiz Live and PAYQ are two of the most popular quiz apps along with Jam Live in Korea. QL was developed by Next Big Thing, a company behind lock-screen advertising platform Cash Slide, while PAYQ was created by game developer NHN Entertainment.
Snow, NBT and NHN launched their respective live streaming apps less than a year ago, but they have been growing fast, garnering attention in the mobile realm, in which many players are struggling to find effective ways to make money.
Google Play organized a Q&A session in Seoul on July 10 with developers from the companies, who talked about the behind-the-scenes stories of their fast-growing services. NBT CTO Kwak Keun-bong, Lee Dong-soo, director of NHN’s game tech center, and Kim Moon-heon, the lead developer of Snow, took part in the session.
Below are excerpts from the Q&A session..
Q: What differentiates your services?
Kim: We engineered this business model in Korea. We have stable, global-level technical capability, and also established a network architecture that can process up to 1 million simultaneous users. We also have skilled engineers and hire specialists who choose questions in different segments.
Lee: NHN is a latecomer, so we spent most of our time coming up with something different before the launch. We then concluded that we need to provide not only rewards but also fun elements.
Kwak: Our strength is in the execution. We do things fast. After the launch in February, we have been updating it every week. We also try to have various quiz formats -- a survival quiz, and a giveaway show. We have recently deployed an AI host, and also started a service that allows users to collaborate to answer questions.
Q: How many users participate on average?
Kwak: More than 30,000 on average take part every day. The accumulated download stands at 2 million.
Kim: Since the February launch, the number of viewers grew to 50,000 within a month. A collaborative broadcasting with a partner company hits a record 210,000. The number of viewers is growing by 20,000 every month. We see around 70,000 to 80,000 simultaneous viewers take part in the show on weekdays and more than 110,000 on weekends.
Lee: Our viewership is not high compared to the other two companies, but the user retention rate is quite high. Those participating in our quiz show at least once definitely come back again. In general, the viewership has grown six-fold compared to a month ago.
Q: Who are your main viewers?
Kim: We are mainly targeting those employees aged 20 to 40, but we see more diverse demographics during weekends.
Kwak: Mainly those in their 20s and 30s, but we are seeing an inflow of younger and older users as well.
Q: Can you tell us about your future plans?
Kim: Maintaining technical stability is one of our core values, and we will try to diversify our services to make them more fun and to increase the user retention rate. We are considering working with players in different segments, including movies and music.
Kwak: We recently began product promotion for the show, and saw 3,100 Baskin Robbins’ ice cream cones selling out in half a second. We want to try to offer more diversity, like a quiz show for morning commuters, and a contest for English words.
Lee: We are focusing on increasing the retention rate more than anything else, and trying to offer high-quality and fun content that can contribute to the retention rate growth rather than luring users by just giving away cash prizes.
Q: What are your global business strategies?
Kwak: NHN have been running global branches, including those in Japan and Taiwan. We are thinking of working together with them to develop services for the global markets.
Kim: From the beginning, Snow has been aiming to go global. It launched its Jam Live services in Korea first to accumulate know-how. Since then, the app has been launched in Japan as well as France. We come second in Japan and are trying to top the market down the road. The company plans to launch the app in different nations too.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)