Niche is the new norm… good news for IQTV, an SVOD service dedicated to high-brow quiz shows, set to launch this summer. The service, which is overseen by former Harry Potter digital chief Rod Henwood and ex-Zodiak Media boss Marc-Antoine d’Halluin, will initially launch in the UK followed by a full international roll out.
The service will air series such as Mastermind, Celebrity Mastermind, A Question of Genius, and The Weakest Link as well as long-running daytime quiz Countdown and Victoria Coren Mitchell’s Only Connect after Henwood and d’Halluin’s firm Inquisitive Media struck content deals with BBC Worldwide, Channel 4 and Banijay.
Launching in July for £3.49 (US$4.80) per month, Henwood tells me that IQTV has been designed to appeal to a “post-millenial” and “upmarket” audience and says that he is hoping to sign up many of the UK’s 3.5M quiz show “super fans”.
In addition to airing hundreds of hours of series, it will also offer subscribers the opportunity to play along with their favorite programs via a built-in app.
Henwood, who was previously CEO of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter digital platform Pottermore and UK CEO for Zodiak and Banijay, says that it would feature a curated schedule of shows, but will not be looking to import dozens of international quiz shows ala Channel 4-backed foreign-language drama service Walter Presents. “The people who love Mastermind, don’t want more shows like Mastermind, they want more Mastermind,” he adds.
Henwood said that it would not commission original series in the short-term but hinted at working on original concepts over the long-term. “There is a real opportunity to create a quiz ecology. This sector is really beginning to heat up.
“IQTV addresses an important gap in the market. 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 recognisable with a strong social media following, and they have had a relatively limited airing on multi-channel television. While there has been a well-documented focus on scripted content and millennial audiences, older viewers and non-scripted passion genres represent a real gap in the VOD landscape,” he added.
Jonathan Newman, UK TV Sales and Business Development Director at BBC Worldwide, added, “The launch of IQTV this summer is an exciting prospect for fans of intelligent quiz shows across the UK and we’re delighted that the service will include four of the most iconic BBC brands in the genre: Mastermind, Celebrity Mastermind, The Weakest Link and A Question of Genius. SVOD is the perfect medium for harnessing the potential for re-discovery and celebration of classic content; this new venture promises to demonstrate exactly that.”