HQ Trivia, the live, mobile video game show, is showing traditional commercials for the first time.
On Tuesday, the interactive trivia app debuted a 15-second vertical video ad—for "The Meg," a Warner Bros. movie—played before the afternoon trivia session. That's the period in which people usually hang around in the app waiting for the host to start firing questions at the audience.
These are the first forced-view video ads, and the app will have to gauge how the community feels about the intrusion.
"We'll see how the audience reacts to it," says Brandon Teitel, head of programming and strategic partnerships at HQ Trivia. "We'll test new placements and make adjustments as we feel necessary."
Chase, Google and MillerCoors are all signed on to run video ads in the coming weeks.
HQ Trivia, which has a typical daily audience of 500,000 people, has featured advertising before, but it was integrated into the game with host Scott Rogowsky naming the sponsor and working them into the questions. In March, Warner Bros. was the first advertiser to participate in that type of "branded content," and it greased the jackpot for that game to $250,000. The audience winners split the jackpot every game.
That game, due to the larger jackpot, also drew the app's largest audience of 2.4 million people.
The app has also done sponsorships with Nike.
However, brands don't have to pay to improve the jackpot as part of the new video ads, Teitel says.
HQ Trivia wouldn't say how much the ads cost. In March, when Warner Bros. ran its first sponsorship on the app, the deal was worth $3 million to promote three movies, according to people familiar with the pricing.
It's unclear if promoting "The Meg" falls under the terms of that deal. Warner Bros. plans to promote five more movies, according to HQ Trivia. (UPDATE: HQ Trivia says the ad for "The Meg" is a new buy, not part of the previous Warner Bros. deal.)
HQ Trivia debuted nearly a year ago, and kicked off a craze in live mobile game shows, inspiring a number of copycats. Even Facebook has since developed game shows with media partners like BuzzFeed and Insider.
HQ Trivia claims to have the largest live audience on mobile devices. Teitel says that some of the hysteria around the app's early craze has tapered off, but that the core fan base is still strong.