Friday, June 27, 2008

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Buffalo Wild Wings (Huntsville, Alabama, on University Drive)

I almost stopped there a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately didn't have time.

Worst wording of a press release headline, but a good sign

I saw this headline at the PR Newswire website and had to laugh:

NTN Buzztime, Inc. Successfully Completes Annual Meeting of Stockholders

I mean, c'mon. I usually chair between 1 and 3 meetings a week, and I don't issue a press release every time I finish one of them.

Then again, I haven't just refused to renew the contract of our head honcho. And shareholders can get antsy. So maybe the headline writer had a point.

CARLSBAD, Calif., June 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NTN Buzztime, Inc. (Amex: NTN), reported that at its annual meeting of stockholders completed today in Carlsbad, California, the stockholders re-elected the incumbent five-person Board of Directors and ratified the selection of its independent registered accountants.


The annual meeting had initially been convened on May 30, 2008, and had been adjourned to today.

Based on the preliminary report from the Inspector of Elections, over 64 percent of the Company's stockholders attended the annual meeting, in person or by proxy. A dissident stockholder had incorrectly asserted in an SEC filing on June 25 that its efforts to defeat a quorum would result in no more than 44 percent attendance. Michael Fleming, Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer of NTN Buzztime, Inc. said, "We appreciate the solid support we received today from the majority of our stockholders, as we move to implement our business plan."

Here's part of the June 25 filing that was referenced in the press release:

On June 24, 2008, Trinad Capital Master Fund, Ltd. (“Trinad”) sent a letter to the Issuer disputing the fact that a quorum existed for its annual meeting of stockholders, originally planned to be held on May 30, 2008, but adjourned until June 26, 2008 (the “2008 Annual Meeting”), based on the fact that Trinad was aware of numerous numbers of stockholders of Issuer who withheld their vote at that time in light of various events that took place in and around that time. Regardless of Issuer’s contention that a quorum existed, Trinad retained its own third party proxy solicitor to canvass Issuer’s stockholders to determine if a quorum exists for the 2008 Annual Meeting and was told that in excess of 56% of Issuer’s stockholders are withholding their votes at the 2008 Annual Meeting. Despite this demonstration of dissatisfaction by more than a majority of Issuer’s stockholders, Issuer still seems intent on going forward with the 2008 Annual Meeting and ignoring the actions of its stockholders. Trinad believes this action to be incomprehensible and lacks justification under any circumstance and believes that the Issuer’s rush to hold the 2008 Annual Meeting in the face of such dissatisfaction is a blatant disregard for Issuer’s stockholders. Trinad again demanded that Issuer postpone the 2008 Annual Meeting and consider a slate of directors (which Trinad had previously proposed) that will be responsive to the demands of Issuer’s stockholders.

Similar sentiments were expressed on the Yahoo! message boards, but message board participants are worse than PR Newswire headline writers.

Trinad is starting to kick AZZ
11-Jun-08 10:24 pm

Vote all the BOD's OUT!!!!!!!!!! WE need someone to take charge now. Go TRINAD!

To which NTN Buzztime said, "Nyah nyah." And just as well. If Trinad is such a savior for the company, why are they unable to count?

But the message boards did illuminate Trinad's plan for the company, had it been successful:

At the 2008 Annual Meeting Trinad intends to vote for the election of each of Dario Santana, Joseph Farricelli and Kirk Read to NTN’s Board of Directors (the “NTN Board”) and will withhold its vote for the election of the other nominees of the Company. Trinad also intends to vote for the four nominees presented below. The three Company nominees that Trinad intends to vote for and the four nominees described below constitute the full slate of seven directors supported by Trinad. Trinad hereby submits the following nominees for consideration at the 2008 Annual Meeting to serve as members of the NTN Board: Robert S. Ellin, Jay Wolf, Bruce Stein and Ian Aaron.

I say that Santana and Fleming should face off in a 15 question trivia challenge. Sounds fair to me.

P.S. I'd tell you more about Trinad Capital Master Fund, but they don't appear to have a website. Here's the Google search.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yes, people sitting around in bars ARE desirable

This press release was issued June 24. Note the "dwell time" and return rate.

CARLSBAD, Calif., June 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NTN Buzztime, Inc. (Amex: NTN), an out-of-home entertainment company, announced 65.9 percent of the Buzztime audience is the highly desirable 21-49 year old demographic according to a recent study conducted by The Nielsen Company. The Buzztime Network is currently available in bars and restaurants across North America and features casual interactive games played on television screens.


In addition to having a desirable target demographic for advertisers, Nielsen also concluded that 86 percent of those interviewed were aware of Buzztime screens. These viewers demonstrated high ad awareness with over 50 percent recalling(1) an NFL Network advertisement on Buzztime screens during their stay.

Nielsen also documented that Buzztime players are 66 percent male and 34 percent female with an average annual income of $69,855. The audience had a dwell time of nearly one hour per visit (59.3 minutes) and 59 percent of the respondents visited the same location three or more times during the previous four weeks.

"The Nielsen results support the value of the Buzztime Network to both advertisers and venue owners," said Tim Nichols, Senior Director of Business Intelligence and Product Management. "Based on these findings, we are now able to quantify and demonstrate the value of our Buzztime audience."

Mr. Nichols further stated that, "Buzztime is a unique platform for advertisers to reach their target audience in a setting where they are engaged with our games and open to receiving advertising messages. We believe Buzztime’s reach in the out-of-home market among the 21-49 year olds is exactly what advertisers are seeking."

Nielsen’s Strategic Media Research fielded intercept interviews for a sample of dates and day-parts across Buzztime-installed locations. Interviewing took place in 47 locations across two measurement intervals: December 11-15, 2007 (5 days) and February 25-March 16, 2008 (21 days). Dayparts consisted of 5 hours each, from 5-10pm. Interviews were completed with 788 visitors 18+ yrs. old as they exited the site.

(1) Net of unaided, aided and photo-prompted.

About NTN Buzztime, Inc.

NTN Buzztime, Inc., a leader in social interactive entertainment for more than 20 years, is based in Carlsbad, CA. Buzztime is distributed in-home and out-of-home across broadband platforms including online, cable TV, satellite TV, and in approximately 3,800 restaurants, sports bars and pubs throughout North America and the United Kingdom. Buzztime entertainment is also available on electronic games and in books. For more information, please visit

Buzztime is a member of the OVAB | Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau.

Buzztime and Play Along TV are registered trademarks of Buzztime Entertainment, Inc.

Forward-looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements which reflect management’s current views of future events and operations including but not limited to estimates of financial performance and cash flows, trends in subscriber preference and engagement and results of marketing strategies. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include the risk of changing economic conditions, the impact of executive management transitions, failure of product demand or market acceptance of both existing and new products and services and the impact of competitive products and pricing. Please see NTN Buzztime, Inc.’s recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for information about these and other risks that may affect the Company. All forward-looking statements included in this release are based on information available to us on the date hereof. These statements speak only as of the date hereof, and NTN Buzztime, Inc. does not undertake to publicly update or revise any of its forward-looking statements, even if experience or future changes show that the indicated results or events will not be realized.

Jake Tauber
Executive Vice President,
Content & Marketing
NTN Buzztime, Inc.

Sarah Znerold
SZPR, Inc.

SOURCE NTN Buzztime, Inc.

And they hang around in bars

OK, so you've decided that you want to work for NTN Buzztime and provide gaming solutions and related products to the masses. Where do you start:

The first place to start is at NTN Buzztime's own website. As of today (6/25/2008), they are seeking the following in Carlsbad and elsewhere:

San Diego: Part-time Contract Print Designer
San Diego: Controller
San Diego: Director of Financial Planning & Analysis
Tampa/Clearwater: Regional Marketing Executive
San Diego: Customer Service Representative

In addition to full-time employment, they also seek freelancers.

We are always seeking full-time or freelance resources to assist us with exciting new projects. If you are a talented artist, programmer, producer, or salesperson, we encourage you to email your resume to, or send us a non-returnable portfolio and/or CD to:

NTN Buzztime, Inc.
Attn: Human Resources
5966 La Place Court, Suite 100
Carlsbad, California 92008

But perhaps you would prefer to go through your own service. You can also see NTN Buzztime jobs via MySpace, SimplyHired, CareerBuilder, or Monster.

Friday, June 20, 2008

NTN (Buzztime) circa 1991

I didn't start playing NTN Buzztime until I started making regular trips to Canada in 2000 or so. But I found a post from someone who was playing the games much earlier.

sbroox discussed experiences in British Columbia back in 1991 with an earlier version of the devices.

I spent the better part of 1991 in Campbell River, BC. The hotel I was living at, the Anchor Inn, had a wireless trivia system in their lounge that was administered by a company called NTN....

The setup was similar to what we know today. People in the lounge would compete against each other, and the lounge would compete against other bars and lounges throughout North America (and the UK - see below).

Then sbroox spouts something that an NTN Buzztime marketer would love:

This is exactly the sort of interactivity that engages people and makes them stay longer at a bar, return more frequently, and invite other people along.

However, there is a cost involved, since the bars have to pay NTN Buzztime for the privilege of hosting their services. And while many establishments have been able to justify the cost via increased business, others have not.

See the rest of sbroox's post, which talks about bar trivia in general, here. Also see the followup post on an ineffective loyalty program.

Incidentally, when I first wrote this post, I stated that as of 1991, NTN was only available in the US and Canada. I was wrong.

[S]ome [forum] contributors refer to a previous attempt to launch this style of quiz by the name of 'Twin Network'. This was commenced in 1991 and was a joint project between NTN, Twin Network Limited (part of the Whitbread Group). I have found media references to it before 1994 but then the trail goes cold. I cannot find as to why it was not successful (I have searched two on-line news database).

I was able to find this in a 1997 press release:

A 12-year veteran of NTN, [Dan] Purner was previously vice president of production, charged with the responsibility for in-house product development and production for all NTN interactive products. From 1990-1993, he managed NTN's involvement in the Twin Network, a joint venture between BBC Enterprises and Whitbread in the United Kingdom. In 1993, he was named director of programming at NTN.

And I found this in the beginning of a July 1, 1991 article:

Interactive entertainment is being transmitted to television screens in 85 UK pubs by Twin Network, new joint company formed by BBC and Whitbread. Digital data is broadcast by BBC to receivers in pubs, with customers using hand-held computerised control to interact with live sports events--in first instance, racing at Ascot.

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Laclede Street Grill (St. Louis, Missouri)

Here's a new feature for this NTN Buzztime blog, that will highlight various places where you can play NTN Buzztime games.

I visited the Laclede Street Grill a few years ago when I was in St. Louis, Missouri on business.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Physician, heal thyself

Some day I'm going to write a post in my personal blog that talks about people who promote services that never use them. It irks me to no end when people start a Web 2.0 service, but don't seem to use it themselves all that much. (I have to say, however, that Paul Buchheit is an exception; one of the principals of FriendFeed, he frequently uses the service to share items with his followers, and constantly engages with other people on the service.)

But when I get around to writing this post about people who don't use the services they promote, I'll have to start with myself.

Yup, that's right. Ever since I started the Empoprise-NTN blog, I have not played a single NTN Buzztime game.

But I came close to doing so last night.

I was in a celebratory mood, having just baselined three marketing requirements. (I know that you probably wouldn't celebrate such an accomplishment, but I certainly would.) I knew that I had a 7:00 meeting to attend at my church, but I figured that I would leave work, drive toward my church, stop somewhere along the way, play NTN Buzztime trivia (and, coincidentally, watch the Lakers at Celtics game) until 6:30 or so, then proceed to my church meeting.

The question was, where to play? I like the TGI Fridays in Yorba Linda, but the eastbound 91 should be avoided at all costs during the afternoon commute, so that was out of the question.

Because Diamond Bar is smack dab in the middle of my planned drive from work to church, I ran the Site Finder, centered on the 91765 zip code, to find some likely places along the way.

Oak Tree Lanes
reviews (2) 0 990 N Diamond Bar Blvd
Diamond Bar , CA 91765
map 333 1083

Black Angus Chino Hills
reviews (2) 7.5 3968 Grand Ave
Chino Hills, CA 91710
map • website 103 1134

The Gem Sports Bar
reviews (3) 7.7 5771-A Pine Ave
Chino Hills, CA 91709
map 2867 1600

Buffalo Wild Wings
reviews (1) 7.7 3160 Chino Ave
Chino Hills , CA 91709
map 574 97

TGI Fridays
reviews (4) 9.5 23040 Eastpark Dr
Yorba Linda, CA 92887
map • website 592 1118

JTs Beach Club
reviews (2) 10.7 15334 E Whittier Blvd
Whittier, CA 90603
map 415 1679

Tequila Hoppers and Grill
reviews (2) 11.3 60 N Mountain Ave
Upland , CA 91786
map 1964 867

The Olive Pit 12.3 834 E Lincoln Ave
Orange , CA 92865
map 3544 2918

Lamppost Pizza Corona
reviews (5) 12.7 300 N Main
Corona, CA 92880
map 818 154

Draft Picks Sports Club 12.8 15856 E Imperial Hwy
LA MIRADA , CA 90638
map 3269 2308

Danny Ks Cafe and Billiards
reviews (9) 13.3 1096 N Main
Orange , CA 92867
map 29 909

Bostons Gourmet Pizza
reviews (1) 15 11260 4th Street
Rancho Cucamonga , CA 91730
map 2631 855

Good Ol Boys Saloon 15.5 10624 Katella
Anaheim , CA 92804
map 1897 2120

National Sports Grill 15.5 5970 Orange Thorpe Ave
Buena Park , CA 90620
map 2836 3279

Lofflers Sports Bar and Grill
reviews (4) 15.5 8901 Katella Ave
Anaheim , CA 92804
map 3038 2028

Buffalo Wild Wings
reviews (4) 16.5 12411 Limonite Ave #650
Mira Loma , CA 91752
map 1237 37

Black Angus Santa Ana
reviews (4) 17.4 1350 N Tustin
Santa Ana, CA 92701
map • website 3544 3626

Buffalo Wild Wings
reviews (4) 19 8188 Daycreek Blvd #140
Rancho Cucamonga , CA 91739
map 311 201

Events Sports Grill
reviews (3) 19.7 10560 Magnolia Ave Unit A
Riverside, CA 92505
map 1734 1991

Michaels Sports Pub and Grill
reviews (3) 20 15192 Golden West St
Westminster, CA 92683
map 1272 1020

Mr Bs Restaurant Sports Lounge
reviews (4) 20.2 11272 Los Alamitos Blvd
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
map 159 893

East Side Marios Lakewood
reviews (2) 21.7 4771 Candlewood St
Lakewood, CA 90712
map 132 1096

Baja Willies
reviews (3) 22.2 7891 Warner Ave
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
map 979 1248

Centerfield Sports Bar
reviews (5) 22.2 17296 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach , CA 92647
map • website 1310 1988

Corrigans Sports
reviews (1) 22.4 4700 Airport Plaza Dr
Long Beach, CA 90815
map 3350 3138

Wardlow Station
reviews (1) 24.1 1174 E Wardlow Rd
Long Beach , CA 90807
map 1398 518

reviews (1) 24.1 3445 Long Beach Blvd
Long Beach , CA 90807
map 3168 2833

Shannons Bayshore 24.4 5335 E 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803
map 1664 2414

Yankee Doodles
reviews (1) 24.4 4100 E Ocean Blvd
Long Beach , CA 90803
map 451 2219

Liquid Lounge
(coming soon) 24.5 3522 E Anaheim St
Long Beach , CA 90804
map 3544 3626

Max Sports Grill
reviews (1) 24.9 18862 Beach Blvd #114
Huntington Beach , CA 92648
map 2707 1299

Incidentally, I was saddened to see that the Beer Hunter in Rancho Cucamonga no longer appears on this list. I don't know if they've dropped NTN Buzztime, or whether Beer Hunter itself is closed.

I ended up concentrating on the two NTN Buzztime locations in Rancho Cucamonga. (Oh, how I wish McAlan's Pub had kept the service.) I considered going to Buffalo Wild Wings - I haven't played at a Buffalo Wild Wings before (although I almost did), but the chain is clearly a huge supporter of NTN Buzztime. However, for locational reasons, I decided to go to Boston's Gourmet Pizza (Buzztime page here) instead.

I got caught up in the commute, so I missed my window to get involved in the 5:30 game. No problem, I thought, I'll just get there before 6:00, get one game in, then head to church.

Well, I got there at about 5:45 and walked around the place, which was very crowded. Did I mention that the Lakers were playing last night? Every TV, with the exception of one, was tuned to the Lakers game. The one TV was tuned

While I'm a fan of the trivia games, I'm not the biggest proponent of poker. I played it once, failed miserably, and have only played trivia since.

I guess I could have asked them to turn a TV to trivia, but I figured with the Lakers game and all, the chances of that happening were pretty much nil. (And I still remembered what had happened when I visited the Olive Pit in Orange for the first time in several months, only to discover that they had dropped trivia in favor of poker.)

Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to go to the Buffalo Wild Wings at Victoria Gardens by this time, so I didn't get a chance to play last night.

And the Lakers lost.

But the church meeting went well, so it wasn't a total loss.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The NTN Buzztime-VH1 Semi-Partnership

Here are portions of a June 17 press release from NTN Buzztime.

NTN Buzztime, Inc. (Amex: NTN) today announced that it has partnered with VH1 to support the launch of a new VH1 series, "I Love The New Millennium." Patrons of subscribing bars and restaurants can test their knowledge of pop culture topics from the past eight years (2000-2007) by playing the "I Love The New Millennium" out-of-home branded trivia game on the Buzztime(R) Network. "I Love The New Millennium" debuted June 6, 2008 on the Buzztime Network and the TV show is slated to premiere June 23, 2008 on VH1.

And this apparently got players' attention.

Interest in the trivia game is evident after the release of an e-newsletter announcing the game to Buzztime's player network. After sending the newsletter, Buzztime measured a 39 percent increase in website traffic.

Unfortunately, VH1 isn't quite as excited about the partnership as NTN Buzztime is. When I tried to search for "buzztime" on the VH1 website, here are my results:

Your search - buzztime - did not match any pages.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Buzztime Trivia Games - the others

All of the Buzztime trivia games are listed at

Approximately 30 different trivia games are available. In addition to Buzztime Trivia, Appeteasers, Wipeout, and Buzztime Football Challenge, the games include Abused News, Get Reel, Odd Couples, Playback Music Trivia, RetroacTiVe, and many more.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Oh, for a 4pm Appeteasers

I am in Huntsville, Alabama at the Madison Square mall, sitting outside a Buffalo Wild Wings.

Unfortunately, this is one of those "we're just here for one thing" trips, so there's no time to linger over an NTN Buzztime game.


Buzztime Trivia Games - Buzztime Football Challenge

I've never played this game, and there's a reason - it's not offered in the United States or Canada.

Buzztime Football Challenge is an exciting mix of everything football - from the current week's Premier League games to past World Cup Champions, this game has it all! This game is a half-hour, and consists of 15 multiple-choice football questions. The game runs back to back for a full hour of football fun!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Buzztime Trivia Games - Wipeout

Wipeout follows Buzztime's most popular trivia format, Buzztime Trivia®, with one very significant exception: there are no clues!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Buzztime Trivia Games - Appeteasers

Appeteasers is Buzztime's bite-sized lunchtime trivia game. It follows the format of Buzztime Trivia™, our most popular game -but it's shorter. Appeteasers is designed to accommodate that lunchtime rush: Each game consists of 7 trivia questions and lasts 15 minutes.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Buzztime Trivia Games - Buzztime Trivia

Buzztime Trivia™ is Buzztime's most popular trivia game! Each half-hour game consists of 15 multiple-choice trivia questions. From anatomy to zoology - and everything in between - there's something for everyone.