Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NTN Buzztime and communities

While this post is being added to my Empoprise-NTN blog, its applicability actually goes well beyond those who are interested in NTN Buzztime trivia. Many people, including myself, have noted how the prevalence of social media has degraded the meaning of terms such as "friend." However, in some cases, the use of the term truly applies. While NTN Buzztime is not a classic online-only social media experience, it certainly does involve the use of technology, and therefore it's appropriate to note that long-standing players can often form true friendships. If you don't believe me, read this post from Stacy. It begins as follows:

For the first time in a very long time my husband and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings in West St. Paul this past weekend. I was told by one of the bar patrons that two people who used to frequent BW3s when I did had passed away. I was in shock. I thought I would share brief thoughts about both men who were always chipper and had such positive attitudes: Lango and Jams.

Read the rest of her post to see her thoughts on Lango and Jams.

The NTN Buzztime page for the Buffalo Wild Wings in West St. Paul is at I could not find a player page for either LANGO or JAMS, but I did find a profile for SMOKE.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

That's not a producer, that's a producer

Spielberg @ Director's Chair by Fantax (Farhan) used under a Creative Commons License

In my never-ending automated searches for all things NTN Buzztime, I run across their job listings every once in a while. I saw a listing for a producer and was intrigued. Do they really have producers for each of their games? Well, sort of. In NTN Buzztime lingo, "producer" actually means something else:

We are seeking an energetic person to join our Product Management Team as a Producer. Our Carlsbad headquarters is seeking a self-directed Producer (Product/Program Manager), who thrives in a growing, collaborative professional environment. As a Producer you are a key member of the product development team who will contribute to all aspects of the product life cycle. The Producer creates cohesive and compelling vision from various inputs, demands and viewpoints; communicates the vision to the team and orchestrates the cross-functional product development process. Specifically the Producer is responsible to:
• Design game concepts and features based on goals and needs of the company, sales and marketability plus mass-market appeal.
• Clearly document designs
• Define use cases, requirements and write feature specifications.
• Manage implementation of all features and designs • Lead creative direction of the product
• Develop visual style in conjunction with the artist who is on the team.
• Guide Marketing as how to best market product through style, advertising and promotional opportunities
• Provide leadership, direction to a cross-functional team and optimize efficiency with an eye towards talent development that strengthens the next iteration of project teams.
• Lead kick off meetings, brainstorming, and participate in product reviews as the key stakeholder of the project.
• Ensure the technical, operations, and business requirements are in line with business goals and objectives.
• Achieve milestones and deadlines for the product development cycle; track and manage product though requirements, design, usability testing, and release activities.
• Communicate status, issues, and risk to the project team and key business stakeholder.
• Create schedules and timelines for product development, production, and conclusion • Act as liaison and single point of contact between software, art, marketing and design.
• Monitors market and business needs to develop requirements for future development, products, and enhancements to existing product lines.

So I guess that I could say that I'm a producer in my day job (I'm a software product manager) and in my night job (as Empoprises chief blogger).

However, my software product management day job doesn't encourage me to hang around in bars...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another view of NTN Buzztime's quarterly financial results

Last Friday, I used my unparalleled stock investing experience to share my thoughts on NTN Buzztime's quarterly financial results. Wednesday, it was RoadDog's turn. Excerpt:

All in all, not very good, but at least there are more sites. However, I have noticed that the number of players during the afternoon is down....

Read the whole post.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

PROFPR beats SKIPPY. Dancing ensues.

I'm not a regular member of any NTN Buzztime group of players, but those groups certainly are out there, and rivalries can occur. In fact, we can go to Memphis, Tennessee, which we haven't visited since January 22/January 23, to find one.

Check this Paul Ryburn post:

Sleep Out Louie’s, one of the last places to carry NTN/Buzztime Trivia Downtown, closed in February 2007. Since then there has not been a Paul vs. Skippy trivia match.

Until [May 17], at Calhoun’s.

Paul then showed a screenshot with the final scores: PROFPR (Paul) at 12,092, and SKIPPY at 8,691.

I did the trivia victory dance.

I don't know if Skippy blogs, but I predict a rematch.

Friday, May 15, 2009

NTN Buzztime quarterly financial results - is the change in direction paying off?

I was unable to discuss this on Thursday, but today I can talk about NTN Buzztime's release of its quarterly results.

In one respect financial results are often a Boolean operation - did you make money, or lose it? But the market is a little more sophisticated than that, and often gets into calculus-like examinations of slopes and trends and junk like that.

So in one respect, you can say that NTN Buzztime lost money. But on the other hand, as RTT News notes, they lost a lot less this quarter than they did in a comparable quarter a year ago.

Thursday, NTN Buzztime Inc. (NTN: News ) reported a first-quarter net loss of $255 thousand or breakeven per share, compared to a loss of $2.6 million or $0.05 per share in the same quarter last year.

RTT also noted that, while revenues declined, this is according to plan as NTN Buzztime refocuses on specific markets (which presumably will be more profitable).

RTT didn't address NTN Buzztime's various i-acquisitions, which aren't affecting the quarterly results, but CEO Terry Bateman did mention them, and some other strategic initiatives, in the opening to the press release:

"Our first-quarter results and recent strategic initiatives show that we are fulfilling our commitments to stabilize and grow our site count, reduce expenses, expand our reach in out-of-home advertising - including promotions and advertiser-sponsored events - and introduce our popular games into the online and mobile arena," commented NTN Buzztime CEO Terry Bateman. "Our net site count grew by 18 sites during the first quarter of 2009. We have reduced payroll by approximately $700,000 compared to the same quarter last year and cut overall SG&A expenses from approximately $7.3 million in last year's first quarter to $4.8 million in the 2009 first quarter. We have definitely made progress on our planned turnaround and are working to keep the momentum growing."

Mr. Bateman continued, "On the business-building side of the equation, we have jump-started our planned expansion into mobile and online games through our April acquisition of iSports, supporting our plans to launch this exciting new platform by the third quarter of this year. This month, we have purchased the assets of the i-am TV out-of-home advertising network from Instant Access Media. We believe this acquisition will contribute to the growth and value of our network allowing us to offer powerful media and sponsorship opportunities to major national advertisers. We are especially pleased to have made both of these strategic acquisitions with equity instead of cash or debt."

So maybe you can't play trivia in England any more, but there are new opportunities to enjoy NTN Buzztime products at home.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Does NTN Buzztime think it's Oracle or something?

In my day job, I have a lot of contacts with people from Oracle Corporation. If you've followed Oracle over the last few years, you know that they've bought up a lot of other companies. They do it with so much frequency, I can almost guarantee that when I run into an Oracle person after a few months, I can ask the Oracle person about Oracle's latest acquisition. (For those keeping track, Oracle is working on getting government approvals to acquire Sun Microsystems.)

Well, perhaps NTN Buzztime CEO Terry Bateman (who has only been on the job since February) woke up one morning and decided that he was Larry Ellison. Not too long after NTN Buzztime's April 24 announcement that it had acquired iSports, it has issued a press release to announce that it's acquiring i-am TV. (They must like the letter I.)

However, NTN Buzztime isn't just acquiring a company; it's also acquiring some investment money. A private stock placement with the former investors in i-am TV will yield $750,000 for NTN Buzztime.

Presumably NTN Buzztime won't completely junk I AM TV's current programming, which consists of 2 minute extreme bursts targeted for young adult bargoers. But perhaps the programming mix may change over time.

Here's the press release:

NTN Buzztime, Inc. Acquires Assets From i-am TV, Strengthens Its Out-of-Home Promotional Reach


- Acquisition adds high-profile out-of-home entertainment television screens in the top 15 DMAs

- Private Placement to provide $750,000 in additional working capital

CARLSBAD, Calif., May 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE Amex: NTN) today announced that it has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of i-am TV from Instant Access Media, LLC which include approximately 1,400 flat panel television screens located in over 360 high-traffic hospitality venues in the top 15 designated market areas (DMAs). Out-of-home entertainment provider i-am TV has been in the business of delivering programming and advertising to these venues.


The Company also announced that investors in Instant Access Media are purchasing shares of NTN common stock in a private placement raising $750,000 in additional working capital.

"Our acquisition of assets from i-am TV has the potential to take our advertising sales initiative to an exciting new level. By expanding our digital broadcast network into numerous prime locations in the top 15 DMAs, we are gaining critical mass to provide major national advertisers with uniquely powerful event, promotion, and sponsorship opportunities," commented NTN Buzztime's CEO, Terry Bateman.

Mr. Bateman continued, "The acquired i-am TV assets are an excellent strategic fit with initiatives we have underway to provide advertisers with sponsored media events and promotional opportunities. We will be offering our proprietary Buzztime content to operators of the acquired screens, potentially contributing to the growth of our overall network viewership. In addition, the assets acquired from i-am TV network include high-quality television screens located in prime locations in major U.S. cities which we believe will ultimately extend our network and enhance our value proposition."

Mr. Bateman concluded, "Considered in the context of our recent asset purchase of sports entertainment portal iSports to accelerate the planned launch of our online and mobile game platform, this agreement marks another significant and positive strategic milestone for NTN Buzztime."

About NTN Buzztime, Inc.

NTN Buzztime, Inc., a leader in interactive entertainment for 25 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 3,750 restaurants, sports bars and pubs throughout North America. Buzztime entertainment is also available on electronic games and in books. For more information, please visit

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

Buzztime is a registered trademark of Buzztime Entertainment, Inc. and Playmaker is a registered trademark of NTN Buzztime, Inc.

Forward-looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements which reflect management's current views of future events and operations. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include those related to successfully integrating the i-am TV assets being acquired into Company operations, uncertainty regarding our future capital needs, risks associated with the current economic downturn, our significant losses, our ability to grow our out-of-home Buzztime iTV network and implement our other business strategies, our recent management transition, potential 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.

Kendra Berger
Chief Financial Officer
NTN Buzztime, Inc.
(760) 438-7400

Mark Collinson
CCG Investor Relations
(310) 477-9800, ext. 117

SOURCE NTN Buzztime, Inc.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy anniversary to Empoprise-NTN (on the right date this time)

(Presumably Louis Gray caught it when I posted this in advance. Whoops.)

On May 9, 2008, I posted my first item for Empoprise-NTN.

I figured that I'd be talking about the trivia games a lot, but as the first post indicated, I ended up spending some time talking about the business issues at NTN Buzztime.

Ironically, I haven't played as much as I'd have liked, but perhaps the blog will take off financially and my trivia needs will be funded.

Or perhaps I can write off trivia trips as a business expense.

P.S. Speaking of business, NTN Buzztime will announce its quarterly results on Thursday:

NTN Buzztime, Inc. ... plans to release financial results for the 2009 first quarter after the close of regular market trading on Thursday, May 14, 2009. The Company's senior management will then host a conference call to discuss these results at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

o access the conference call, please dial 1-866-360-7027 if calling from the United States or Canada, or 1-706-643-3291 if calling internationally.

A replay will be available until May 21, 2009, which can be accessed by dialing 1-800-642-1687 if calling from the United States or Canada or 1-706-645-9291 if calling internationally. Please use passcode 98631328 to access the replay.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - O'Malley's Pub and Grill (Sylva, NC)

Ran across the blog for this establishment, which lists the following information:

Just the Facts

(828) 631-0554‎

Mon.–Sat.: 11am-until
Sun.: Noon-until

Food Hours:
Food is served all hours!
Late Night Menu:
Mon.-Wed. 10-last call
Thurs.-Sat. 11-until last call
Sunday 9–last call

16 TV’s with 9 Satellites,
ESPN Game Plan and NFL Ticket

NTN Buzztime Trivia
3 Pool Tables
Golden Tee Video Golf
Silver Strike Video Bowling

Smoking and non-smoking available

83 Asheville Hwy./Business 23, Sylva, NC

Be sure to see Empty Slate on Friday, May 8.

For NTN Buzztime trivia scores at this location, go to

Thursday, May 7, 2009

NTN Buzztime goes to Twitter and West Virginia

It all started when I did a "mentions" search on Twitter and found this tweet:

RT @empoprises: Buzztime trivia benefits an oft-neglected market - the deaf LOVE seeing a fresh analysis Buzztime ! :)

Mary Campbell

Campbell is presumably the same Mary Campbell who recently went out to West Virginia to meet some players:

One local pub is doing its part to bring tourism to the Buckhannon area.
Allburghers Appalachian Pub Co. recently hosted the 2009 W.Va. Buzztime Trivia Open....

Allburghers hosted the event Thursday, March 26 through Sunday, March 29. According to the trivia organizer, who only gave his name as Bob, there were about 50 people from various parts of the country who traveled to Buckhannon to take part in the fun....

A representative from Buzztime Trivia, Mary Campbell, traveled to Buckhannon to distribute prizes and additional electronic trivia pads for the group.

Back to Twitter. BuzztimeGirl also issued this tweet:

Love all the new Buzztime avatars created for the network. Register and build one to display while you're playing:) :o)

I got all ready to upload my picture that I'm using these days...but it turns out that you BUILD a graphical avatar. (It pays to read the get more points that way.)

If you want to see my handiwork, check my profile.

It looks like there are a number of other new features at the Buzztime web site...need to check them out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Buzztime trivia benefits an oft-neglected market - the deaf

This blog has been around for about a year now. (In fact, I need to make sure that I haven't already passed the one-year anniversary.) In fact, back on May 17, 2008, I wrote about an NTN Buzztime promotional video, and concluded my post with the following:

At first I was disturbed at the fact that there was no sound in this video, but then I realized that this was a true and accurate demonstration of the product. Think of your average sports bar, in which one of the TVs (usually the one showing the local team's game) will have sound, and all of the other TVs will be muted, allowing you to watch the game but not hear it. Well, Buzztime is an entirely sound-free activity, so as not to interfere with other things being watched on other TVs. Clever, once you realize what's going on.

I had forgotten about this until I saw yet another post in the series of posts I'm finding that talk about the trivia games available at Buffalo Wild Wings.


Buffalo Wild Wings

Friday, May 29, 2009

6700 Knightdale Blvd
Knightdale, NC 27545

C’mon out and kick off the Memorial Day weekend celebrations at Buffalo Wild Wings in Knightdale! This is a no-holds-barred bar with affordable, top-quality food, including award-winning chicken wings and twelve signature sauces- YUM! There’s big-screen TVs, onscreen Buzztime® Trivia and a menu full of great food. Lookin’ forward to seein’ ya’all there!

OK, other than the fact that the writer speaks Southern, and other than the fact that the writer inadvertently references a Buffalo Wild Wings competitor, this is your average "play trivia with us" message. But then I got to wondering - what is this "DPHH" that's referenced? The explanation appears in the bottom of the post:

The Deaf Professional Happy Hour (DPHH)™ hosts logistical information and provides certain administrative support for the functions of DPHH™ as a pro bono service to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Again, you wouldn't think of it - or at least I wouldn't think of it - but NTN Buzztime Trivia is a perfect activity in which the deaf can participate. Since no sound is involved (for the reasons I mentioned in last years's post), there's no barrier for deaf participation in the games.

And if you think that all of the deaf players are meekly sitting quietly while playing their games, think again:

DPHH™, its subsidiaries, officers, and sponsors and the DPHH™ committees assume no liability for the behavior of individuals or the group at DPHH™ events. No DPHH™ committee member or other representative of DPHH™ is responsible for monitoring DPHH™ event participants.

It might get nasty at Buffalo Wild Wings in Knightdale on Friday May 29. Especially if Jane Fernandes appears in any of the trivia questions.

View Larger Map

P.S. The blog anniversary is on May 9. I'm safe.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Organized trivia runs!

Normally when I play NTN Buzztime trivia, I just kinda sorta show up. But Amy in Virginia Beach seems to be evangelizing trivia and wings (of the Buffalo Wild variety). You can't see details unless you're a member at, but even those of us on the outside can see what Amy is promoting:

Join me for wings, beer, and trivia. Enjoy a night out with friends and we will also be playing Buzztime Trivia which is alot of fun to play.

Buffalo Wild Wings has two types of wings, along with 14 sauces ranging from Sweet to Blazin'! They also have ribs, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, as well as all sorts of starters, snacks, and sides. The bar carries 11 domestic and 19 import and specialty beers and has a total of 33 TVs.

This made me curious - does the more well-known have a similar group? Yes they do, in Windsor, Connecticut:

***Starting Wednesday September 3rd*** [2008]

Meet other local trivia lovers, play great games in a fun atmosphere! Buzztime Trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings features a wide variety of games: from play-along sports to trivia to seasonal competitions, each of our games is packed with fun and excitement! Trivia lovers use an electronic playmaker to compete aagainst other guests!

Buffalo Wild Wings has over 45 high def plasma and big screen tv's tuned to the hottest sports action, trivia and Texas Hold 'Em poker. BWW features a full made-to-order menu that's friendly on the wallet with award-winning wings spun in 14 Signature Sauces, 20 ice-cold beers on draft, and a full bar!

Conveniently located at 703 Poquonock Ave in Windsor. Exit 38 off I-91. Easy access from CT and Western Mass.

It looks like they've been having issues getting participants - the list of recent meetups shows only 1 attendee on March 11 and April 1, and none on other times - so if you're in Windsor, Connecticut and like trivia, you have an assignment on May 6.