HQ Surpasses 2 Million Live; Time to Rethink the Power of Live Online Events?

Oscar Night was a big night for Frances McDormand, Jordan Peele, and Guillermo del Toro, but perhaps one of the most noteworthy and least recognized winners of the night was HQ Trivia. At approximately 9:06 pm ET, just after Dunkirk won the golden trophy for Best Sound Editing, some 2.18 million people were drawn from whatever they were doing, or possibly watching, by the siren call of Scott Rogowsky aka Quiz Daddy, aka Edward Quizzerhands, aka Quizzie McGuire, hosting HQ Trivia, the mobile Trivia show.

Let’s put HQ’s Sunday night audience in perspective for a moment.

2.18 million is more than the audience that typically tunes into Trump’s beloved morning program Fox and Friends (or CNN for that matter). It’s also more than the average viewership of Jimmy K’s other gig, Jimmy Kimmel Live.

From another perspective, 2.18 million live is over a hundred Madison Square Garden sellouts at once.

Indeed, the audience HQ got is more than the entire digital paid subscription of each of the nation’s major print outlets (WSJ, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today) with the exception of the New York Times (now reportedly up to 2.6 million paid subscribers).

So, in light of HQ’s momentous success in aggregating live audience, is it finally time to retire the myth that audiences don’t respond to live online events?

For the last decade, media companies have persuaded themselves that their online audiences are simply not interested in engaging live. The perceived failure of media’s experiments with Google Hangouts circa 2013 and 2014, the flash in the pan of Meerkat and then Periscope, and the more recent disappointments around Facebook Live have all been blamed on the audience’s purported lack of interest in live events.  

The success of HQ suggests that judgment may be premature. Perhaps it is the nature of the media’s live offerings and specifically their lack of audience engagement that have doomed past attempts at live online events.

HQ’s success demonstrates, more than anything, that audience participation can trump more static TV studio type production for the internet. That spontaneous off the cuff interactions with a live audience is an irresistible force, sometimes more powerful in its appeal than the $$$ sometimes thrown at “production value”

While playing HQ, one is very much aware that it is decidedly not a TV show. Passive viewers in former TVLand have now been replaced by active participants out there in iPhone/Androidland and it is the interactions of these participants who are now the focus, such as their collective successes or failures on full view as well  as the conversations among friends as they play on phones side by side with one another.)

Sure, the possibility of winning the $20 or so dollars a small elite group gets deposited nightly in their online wallet is enticing; but it is no accident that majority of the show is Scott’s banter, his mangling the names of participants as he attempts to call out an impossible number of them; his commenting on random texts, sharing birthday wishes, and poking fun of groups of participants to the delight of others. It is our involvement with Scott, our desire to be personally acknowledged and/or perchance celebrated on the closing review of winners that keeps us there until the end and coming back for more.

We certainly could not have predicted HQ’s success. Who knows whether two years ago the founders themselves imagined their ability to drag 2 million away from Hollywood’s greatest night to play trivia. But they have clearly created a new paradigm that demands recognition.

It should be abundantly clear to all in media that live online events can compete at scale with pre-recorded content of all varieties and that a secret ingredient to making this possible is audience participation.

In celebrating HQ’s hard-earned achievement, we are excited to enable other creatives to similarly pioneer new live online experiences. The Shindig large scale video chat platform offers media entrepreneurs the opportunity to engage audiences in wholly new ways, empowering the transformation of static audience/spectators into active personalities who can directly engage with hosts as well as their fellow audience members.

If you’re ready to join the live phenomenon, jump into the post-text era, and take advantage of the immense participation that large-scale online events can generate, check out Shindig’s large scale video chat technology.

5 Ways for Businesses to Balance Automation and Authenticity in 2018

I recently came across a Forbes Article from contributor Ian Altman who is a strategic advisor, author and internationally sought keynote speaker on integrity-based sales and business development. Ian outlines the top business trends that will drive success in 2018 for your company. Below are the five I’m most excited about:

1. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE DRIVES CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – Leading companies are embracing AI to perform repeatable, redundant tasks and to process large amounts of data not to avoid human interaction, but to enrich it.”

Yes! In today’s age of “engagement automation” we will need to build trust and authenticity more than ever and AI will help us understand where and when to provide that. The trick is providing live face-to-face communication “at-scale” to match the automated text and voice communication that comes from Artificial Intelligence. More on the importance of live interaction below…

(P.S. I will be speaking on a panel, “Real AI for Real Sales” in San Francisco at the Sales 3.0 Conference on March 12-13. Additional featured speakers are Keith KrachNancy NardinGerhard GschwandtnerAlice HeimanElay Cohen and more.)

2. COMMUNITIES EMBRACE LIVE INTERACTIONS OVER SOCIAL MEDIA – “ …top companies realize that building great communities engenders long-term brand loyalty. Nothing drives strong communities better than in-person and live interactions.”

Bravo! Communities need the freedom to organically connect live, learn socially, and bond over shared experiences, just like they would at in-person events. It should be in every brand’s customer engagement strategy to provide an online forum that represents those in-person dynamics at internet scale. Social media is not going away anytime soon, and communities will continue to learn “on-demand”. The video that comes from those authentic interactions can be both a powerful social media and social learning content asset. More on social learning below….

3. SOCIAL LEARNING OUTPERFORMS REMOTE LEARNING – “Social-learning promotes autonomy and self-direction, increasing overall learner engagement. It can also be a welcome departure from online courses which can be lonely, isolated experiences that lack engagement. Learners do not feel the presence of other learners in the experience.”

As a professional who has built a career out of selling webinars, this one really hits home. Social Learning may be one of humankind’s oldest forms of learning but somehow hasn’t translated completely to webinars, which are predominately used for employee and customer engagement. Let’s face it, webinar technologies like Webex or GoToMeeting can actually make your audience feel more isolated and lonely. If we barely tolerate “death by powerpoint” why are we still stuck in an online version of it? Your online community is gravitating towards more engaging ways to learn. As they start to experience social learning online, it’s the face-to-face interactions with experts and peers they will seek more than your ppt slide deck.

I hate to say it, but it is finally time to say “Death to Webinars”?  

4. LIVE STREAMING VIDEO CONTENT GAINS MOMENTUM – “Customers demand real connections, with real people. Live video has the ability to give many businesses a face AND a soul.”

Amen! Live video is a critical component to connect to today’s online audience because that is the way they want to engage. Even as we aim to personalize content to the right audience at the right time, your customers and employees are still seeking “real connections, with real people” in their “critical moments of truth” with your brand.

5. SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY NOT JUST BUYERS – Analyst Jon Reed writes marketers also “should be thinking in terms of “buyer’s community” or “buyer’s network.” Reed notes that “buyers aren’t always buying but they are always learning” and “we shouldn’t only be targeting buyers.”

There you have it. As we begin to depend on a troop of “bots” or “intelligent agents” to personalize and distribute content aimed at advancing a buyer through a buying journey, our human effort will shift towards producing the brand trust and loyalty that will strengthen our entire online community, so that when they are ready, they will look to us as a trusted resource to solve their problem.

The businesses that will thrive in 2018 and beyond will be those that can balance personalized engagement from artificial intelligence with online platforms that deliver the community pillars of human-to-human, in-person event and social learning dynamics at internet scale.

I’m excited to be speaking at the Sales 3.0 Conference this March and look forward to seeing you there. For more info and tickets click here or contact me directly at scott@shindigevents.com.


NYT’s “The Post-Text Future”: Are Video Chat Events The Answer?

Friday NYT’s Welcome to the Post-Text Future article describes the new media reality.

Surviving may depend on right-sizing expense associated with video production while also engaging an audience in a new exciting way.

TALK RADIO came of age when radio found itself with timeslots with impossibly low CPMs.

REALITY TV was born when cable found itself unable to sustain the production cost of quality of scripted programing.

Both formats were soon recognized as also being compelling new modes of entertainment, equally popular with audiences as the more expensive productions that were previous gold standards. These new formats uncovered audiences unending and previously untapped desire to be part of the show.

Shindig video chat events; (interactive newsmaker interviews, weeks in review, Q&As, town halls, and forums) derive their appeal from the same dynamics. Audience’s desire for meaningful engagement; Advertisers desire for demonstrable evidence of such.

In an age where people (advertisers and audiences both) prize authenticity above all else, nothing can feel more authentic than the unscripted dialogues between personalities and their public that Shindig uniquely enables.

And no format has the potential for timeliness, relevance, or cost-effectiveness than live online events: able to be convened with a tweet; produced almost instantly in the cloud; and with hosts, guests, and participants all on devices from wherever they happen to be.

If your organization is ready to explore the future online video chat events holds we hope you will reach out.

Get in touch with the Shindig Team.

How Publishers Can Thrive Under Facebook’s New Algorithm

Live interactive online events around news content maybe THE answer to Facebook’s plan to de-prioritize branded content in favor of friends and family and Shindig is the only platform where you can create large-scale online events that are just as interactive and memorable as real life.

According to Facebook there are three ways to ensure your content makes the cut with this new algorithm:

1) Be authentic
2) Create meaningful interactions, like long, thoughtful comments
3) Engage the friends and family network.

Here’s how Shindig’s unique technology delivers on all three and more.

Your brand creates a stimulating conversation around a topic that is relevant to you and your audience and invites 1,000 fans to join the conversation LIVE on your custom URL (you can involve sponsors, if you like). During your real-time video chat, you welcome audience members up on your virtual stage to ask your journalists and/or newsmakers their own questions. Lastly, you gain maximum exposure by simulcasting your event on Facebook’s choice feature, Facebook Live receiving six times the interactions of non-Live videos.

What’s more authentic than a lively forum of engagement that liberates your audience with face-to face-interactions at internet scale? Image the number of long comments generated by such real-time conversations! Think of the potential reach when influencers and audience members share the event on their personal Facebook pages with an exuberant “watch me in this clip!”.

Creating a world where your audience expects the most exciting, most interactive content directly from you is now more accessible than ever. Shindig requires no download, no install, is totally mobile, and is remarkably easy to use, brand, and promote. It comes equipped with monetizing capabilities and customizable backgrounds and widgets perfect for sponsorship, branding, and in context e-commerce.

Check out some recent events hosted by big names on Shindig: MIT Technology Review, Turner Classic Movies & BSU, and the NYC Deputy Mayor’s Office.

Ready to host your own Shindig? Get in touch with the Shindig Team.

Inside Higher Ed & Online Learning Consortium to Host Interactive Interview Series at OLC Accelerate 2017

Inside Higher Ed, the online media company for higher education and go-to source of online news, thought leadership, and opinion, is hosting a two-day series of fully interactive interviews with experts and thought leaders in higher education technology at the Online Learning Consortium’s annual international conference, OLC Accelerate. These interviews will be powered by Shindig, the premier video chat event provider.

Attendees will be able to interact with each other over video chat during the interviews, as well as partake in video chat Q&As with the interviewees and ask questions throughout.

The interviews will be moderated by Inside Higher Ed Editor & Co-Founder Doug Lederman, and will occur over two days: Wednesday, November 15th, from 11:30am – 1:30pm ET and Thursday, November 16th, from 12:00pm – 2:00pm ET.

The growing list of confirmed interviewees includes Curtis Bonk, Professor at Indiana University and Owner of CourseShare; Phil Hill, Co-Publisher of the e-Literate blog, Co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner at MindWires Consulting; Rolin Moe, Assistant Professor and the Director of the Institute for Academic Innovation at Seattle Pacific University; and Jill Buban, Senior Director of Research & Innovation at the ‎Online Learning Consortium; with more being added.

“We are excited to be partnering with Inside Higher Ed and Shindig to extend the reach of the thought leadership that will be on hand next week at OLC Accelerate to those who are unable to be there in person,” said OLC’s Buban. “We thank our community of digital learning experts who will be sharing their insights through these interviews, and we look forward to some tremendously interactive discussions.”

“OLC’s conference is a key gathering place for the most thoughtful and creative people in digital learning, and Inside Higher Ed (and our “Inside Digital Learning” newsletter) are excited about taking advantage of the Shindig platform to bring the innovative ideas of these smart people to those who can’t be in Orlando with us,” Lederman said.

“The Shindig team is thrilled for this partnership and the chance to power more thought-provoking conversations in the education space, as well as foster new connections between interested people who couldn’t make it in person,” said Christopher Downs, Shindig’s Vice President of Business Development for Higher Education.

RSVP for the first in this series at https://gateway.shindig.com/event/accelerate.

Cornell University & the University at Buffalo Partner on Shindig Event Series to Discuss Women In Tech

Shindig is proud to partner with the UB Women in STEM Cooperative on “The Next 10 Years: Helping STEM Students Thrive,” a series of video chat events on inclusion and improving the status of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Cooperative itself is a collaboration between the University at Buffalo and Cornell University and features the perspectives of national thought leaders and institutional representatives about expanding the participation of women in undergraduate STEM education at different scales.

The series features monthly events until January, each featuring a new set of experts and opening the floor to questions from attendees. Participants are encouraged to join the conversation, ask questions, share their stories, build their networks, and further their understanding of topics including:

  • Innovations that can expand female or underrepresented minority student participation and success in STEM undergraduate education
  • Effective evidence-based STEM teaching practices commonly adopted at research universities
  • Unique institutional and cultural challenges to achieving STEM diversity
  • What difference at scale looks like

The first event in the series took place last week, with great engagement and feedback from the attendees. There are three more scheduled as follows:

Don’t miss out on this groundbreaking series and sign up today!

Shindig Offers Free Video Chat Classrooms and Meeting Spaces to South Texas Schools & Colleges

Shindig is proud to offer free video chat classrooms and meeting spaces to all educational institutions affected by flooding from Hurricane Harvey. With the academic year beginning, many school systems, both K-12 and higher ed, will face a shortage of physical classrooms and disruption due to the dislocation of staff, teachers and students.

As Marci Powell, former president of the Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA), put it:

Now is the time to lean into distance learning for overcoming this disaster. Through state-of-the-art virtual learning environments such as Shindig, we can start the semester and keep classes going.”

To that end, Shindig is offering its technology for FREE to educational institutions for virtual classrooms and large-scale parental or faculty outreach.

With Shindig, dislocated teachers and dislocated students will be able to meet for classes with all the same interactivity that they would enjoy in their physical classrooms if such were available.

The tech enables an online teacher to move seamlessly between addressing the whole class to circulating around the class to coach students individually. It also allows students to form teams and discuss the class material privately with one another in smaller groups just like the would in their physical facilities.

Similarly, Shindig enables large-scale town halls or all hands meetings in which up to 1,000 audience members can participate, both addressing the entire gathering or discussing issues in small groups.

The technology is also being made available to relief organizations for planning meetings and community outreach.

Any institutions interested in using Shindig’s technology are encouraged to attend any of the upcoming scheduled info sessions available for sign up at https://relief.shindig.com or by emailing info@shindig.com.

FantasyPros Starts Hosting Premium Forums With Experts on Shindig

FantasyPros is one of the premier online resources and communities for all things fantasy sports. It’s branched out from being a forum for fantasy sports fans to bringing on its own in-house experts, write articles and produce content aimed at informing FantasyPros readership/subscribers how to win their fantasy leagues.

FantasyPros started using Shindig as a forum to host exclusive, gated Q&As for a handpicked group of premium subscribers with their resident experts, Mike Tagliere and Bobby Sylvester. In the forums, subscribers ask Mike and Bobby a series of rapid-fire questions about their fantasy football dilemmas. Not only have the Shindig Q&A events added value for existing premium subscribers, but they also incentivize would-be subscribers to opt for a premium subscription because it gives them access to immediate actionable feedback for their lineups.

Thanks to our virtual attendees of the EdSurge ASU + GSV Interview Series!

On the week of May 8th, 2017, anyone and everyone with a vested interest in learning and talent innovation packed their bags and headed to Salt Lake City to attend this year’s ASU + GSV Summit. Shindig was certainly in attendance, and not just to mingle with the learning community, but to also power an interactive interview series, produced on-site by leading edtech media outlet, EdSurge. The series featured some of the most influential thought leaders, top executives, and authority figures within the business of providing or enabling education. Some big names included: Chip Paucek (Co-Founder and CEO of 2U, Inc.), Scott Pulsipher (President of Western Governors University), and Jessie Woolley-Wilson (President and CEO of DreamBox Learning), to name just a few. Thanks to all those that tuned in and participated! And for those of you that missed out on the live event, no worries! Follow this blog, or any of our social media pages (FB + Twitter), to stay tuned for when we upload the event recordings.

The International Rhino Foundation hosted a live Q&A on Shindig

On May 12th, The International Rhino Foundation hosted a live Q&A on Shindig, in tandem with their Facebook Live event, to share the latest successes and the challenges of preserving the Sumatran rhino. For 25 years, the International Rhino Foundation has championed the survival of the world’s rhinos through conservation and research. They do what it takes to ensure that rhinos survive for future generations and part of the work is promoting awareness through informational sessions, like this Shindig event.

The IRA’s Executive Director, Dr. Susie Ellis, and Deputy Director, CeCe Sieffert, were in tow to answer questions on behalf of the foundation. Attendees received an in-the-trenches account of the preservation efforts and even got to view video footage of a baby rhino named Delilah’s first birthday celebration. Interested in promoting awareness to and social interaction with your cause? Let us know, we can help.