With Joyride, Everyone Can Host Their Own HQ Trivia

Janko Roettgers

When mobile game developer Kiwi first released Joyride, the app looked familiar: Similar to wildly popular HQ Trivia, Joyride offered players the ability to win quiz shows in live broadcasts.

The key difference: Joyride’s app wasn’t home to just one trivia show, but multiple shows around topics like music, dating, fandom, and yes, trivia, all produced in the company’s Santa Monica studio. “Our focus was on building a platform,” said Kiwi CEO Omar Siddiqui.

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A few weeks ago, the company took the next step on that journey, and opened up Joyride to everyone, giving users the ability to host their own live shows. “Anyone who downloads the app can start broadcasting,” Siddiqui said.

In conjunction with that launch, Joyride also started a partner program, which is currently available on an invitation basis to more successful community broadcasters. Some of these partner broadcasters are already making hundreds of dollars a day from their broadcasts, according to a company spokesperson.

And while Joyride’s hired hosts have been producing some 5 hours of live programming every day, the company says that it now streams 250 hours of broadcasts per day, thanks to shows produced by its community. Siddiqui added that the company had signed up “thousands” of broadcasters since opening up its platform. He declined to comment on Joyride’s number of active users, but a spokesperson said that returning users were spending on average around 20 minutes per day in the app, with subscribers spending around 70 minutes per day.

Joyride isn’t the first attempt to take on HQ Trivia, which became a sensation with fans soon after its launch 2 years ago. Some of HQ Trivia’s shows attracted over 2 million players at its peak. However, a number of startups failed to establish HQ Trivia clones. Siddiqui said that these community broadcasts were part of the company’s strategy to broaden its horizon beyond HQ Trivia-like quiz shows. “We’ve never been focused on one show format,” he said.

Unlike HQ Trivia, Joyride also isn’t as dependent on huge audience numbers for any single show; Siddiqui said that the company currently had no plans to strike brand sponsorship deals. Instead, Joyride relies entirely on in-app purchases and subscriptions.

That’s a strategy that worked well for Kiwi when it developed free-to-play mobile games, but it’s also one that can backfire when users find themselves inadvertently caught in the subscription funnel. Already, Joyride’s app store listings feature numerous reviews of consumers complaining about charges.

“If you choose, you can engage in the shows without paying,” said Siddiqui, who argued that the app was more about having fun than winning and spending money. However, he also acknowledged that monetizing free-to-play apps through in-app purchases and subscriptions can be tricky. “In the end of the day, it’s a fine line,” he said.

After opening up the Joyride platform to everyone, Kiwi is now in talks with media companies to who might be interested in hosting their own shows on the platform. The hope is that the company will ultimately attract a new type of professional producers to its platform.

Influencers and celebrities could use the platform not only to generate revenue, but also to interact with their fans, argued Siddiqui, pointing to the app’s community as one of its key assets. “People come for the show, but stay for the party,” he said.

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