Sunday, 22 January 2012

Trends in reality TV gaming

"It could be you" was the original slogan of the National Lottery. But innovative new on to off-line hybrid games are taking the world by storm, delivering to that craving in bundles. Bundles of £50 notes.

The National Lottery fails to deliver because it's a mostly passive, non-interactive experience. You buy a ticket in a shop: great. Then you wait for Saturday to watch Dale Winton attempting to inject excitement into a bingo machine in a tiny studio making your ticket worthless. Yawn.

Compare to recent TV shows 'The Bank Job' and 'The Million Pound Drop Live', both:
  • Screened 'live' over a small number of days with a will to be 'event television'. Social media goes crazy for this stuff
  • Playing online allows you to apply to play for real in the studio within a day or three
  • Play along live at home via Internet or red button. A great 'second screen' application. Something like 40k people were online last night with Davina.
  • Real money on show. Everyone loves big bundles of £50 notes apparently - accompanied by serious-looking security guards.
  • Instant statistics from the online players available to the hosts
  • Live Twitter and Facebook updates from viewers available to the hosts
The Million Pound Drop partners Skype to bring in celebs to ask the questions live.

These shows then generate an additional big set of money from licensing. Beyond the traditional scratchcards, fruit machine, pub quiz machines and boardgames, today the focus is more instant interactive gratification: online real cash gaming sites such as Bet365 or Paddypower. Bet365 reports it sees a flood of new accounts every time Million Pound Drop is broadcast - and will make another set of money from those betting on the outcomes of the live show.

This is a new type of 'reality TV gameshow'. Small wonder both 'The Bank Job' and 'The Million Pound Drop Live', along with 'Deal or No Deal', are born of Endemol, the makers of Big Brother. With the increase in such shows, plus 'the Cube', 'Red or Black', late night poker sponsored by 'play now' poker sites, or the roulette sites that even mainstream channels hand over to in the early hours, this looks a strong trend.

The 'play along live' games are an essential component. A remarkable majority of the above games were developed by Clerkenwell-based agency 'Monterosa', a team of around 20.

What their MD Simon Brickle says is also true of Electric Animal,

"On our very early projects we realised that our reputation depended not just on delivering a project successfully, but the success of the project itself."
Where will this 'social TV movement' go next? Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has been made in over 100 countries, one that inspired the 'Slumdog' film. Do you have a killer quizshow format ready to make everyone millions?*

*Endemol are currently £2.3 billion in debt


  1. I quite fancy myself on 'The Million Pound Drop' - who wants to team up?

  2. Roger Mellie has already come up with all the best ideas for game shows.