A trio of industry stalwarts hope they have identified an SVOD niche and are launching IQTV, a streaming service focused entirely on brainy British quiz shows.
Marc-Antoine d’Halluin, the former boss of global production and distribution group Zodiak, and Rod Henwood, who was at Zodiak and ran Banijay in the U.K., have teamed with former Sky and Lovefilm exec Nick James to launch London-based InQuisiTiVe Media, which is behind the venture. IQTV is scheduled to launch in July.
With existing SVOD services largely focused on drama, InQuisiTiVe is aiming to reach fans of higher-end quiz shows. It has sealed deals with BBC Worldwide, Banijay, and Britain’s Channel 4 for a launch lineup of more than 100 titles, including as “Mastermind,” “The Weakest Link” (pictured), “Countdown,” and “Only Connect.”
“Intelligent quiz shows represent an attractive, untapped genre for a niche SVOD service. They have significant and very loyal audiences, their brands are enduring, their hosts are highly recognizable with a strong social media following,” Henwood said.
“To find a successful niche you need a well-defined proposition so people know what you mean instantly,” Henwood told Variety. “If you say ‘intelligent quiz shows’ people know these will be hard question and answers where the skill, brain, and knowledge elements outstrip luck or prizes.”
The BBC Worldwide deal allows IQTV to refresh its lineup with fresh episodes of the licensed titles. An IQTV app will allow subscribers to play along. “It’s not just watch; it’s watch and play,” Henwood said.
In terms of access to content, the service is a boon for distributors who have traditionally not had a digital home for finished episodes of quiz shows, though reruns of such shows regularly go out on broadcast and cable channels.
The service will launch at a price of £3.49 (about $4.90). Henwood and his partners would ultimately like to extend IQTV beyond the U.K. “We’re interested in developing intelligent quiz show offerings in other markets,” Henwood said. “We want to create a quiz ecology for lovers of the shows and brain games. We think it’s very scalable.” France and Northern Europe are high on the list if the international plans come to fruition.
“The world of niche SVOD is really interesting,” Henwood said. “People tend to default to ‘one day Netflix or Amazon will rule the world,’ but the landscape is much more layered than that, and there is scope for developing verticals that are interesting and cater [to] people’s lifestyle interests or passions.”