Monetized Game Show Skills are Growing the Sony Pictures Television Brand
Television production company Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is utilizing voice to reach fans in a new way, at any time of the day, and also generate revenue. For decades top programs like Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire have engaged fans through their televisions because they feel like they can play along with the contestants. Thanks to voice-activated apps SPT is embracing their fans participating in the games from anywhere. “With Alexa, we can reach many fans in a new way, especially younger people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, any time of day they want,” said Paul Joffe, games team leader at SPT.
Jeopardy! was SPT’s earliest venture into Alexa skills, which makes sense as the hit series has won more Emmy Awards than any other game show: 35. The show’s Alexa skill launched in early 2016 and has a 4-star rating (with nearly 7,500 reviews) in the Alexa Skill store. Players can compete in the same categories as contestants on the show and also get exclusive access to a sixth clue, which is one more clue than on-air competitors receive. “Creating Jeopardy! for Alexa started as an experiment,” said Joffe. “With the incredible growth of voice and the emergence of voice-first gaming and monetization, Jeopardy! was SPT’s first step into a new world of opportunity.”
Jeopardy Among the First Game Skills to Offer In-Skill Purchasing
In late 2017 Amazon started offering in-skill purchasing (ISP) to only a small group of Alexa developers, Jeopardy! being one of the first. While the Jeopardy! skill is free to enable, users have the option to purchase a $1.99/month subscription upgrade that allows access to premium features like Double Jeopardy! and additional clues. The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire app launched with a one-off purchasing feature allowing people to buy bonus lifelines. SPT’s strategy to use voice as a channel is not only further engaging fans but also providing the company with an additional revenue stream. “Of the millions of people who engage with our brand via our Alexa skills, many are also regular fans of our TV games shows,” Joffe told Amazon. “The two channels are complementary, and we believe the voice channel will be steadily adding to our audience.”
In-skill purchasing launched internationally a few months ago, starting with the U.K., Germany and Japan. Amazon describes ISP are a way for developers and content creators to “sell premium content to enrich your Alexa skill experience.” Developers can also make money through the “Developer Rewards” program that pays developers whose skills have the highest customer engagement. Companies aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits from Developer Rewards. Independent developers, like Nick Schwab of Invoked Apps, can also create their own lucrative income streams.