Friday, April 11, 2014

The .@Ziosk example - what if an NTN Buzztime Playmaker were on EVERY table?

Long-time readers of this blog are very familiar with NTN Buzztime's pitch to restaurants and bars - if you install the networked trivia system in your bar, your patrons will play the trivia, and will stay at your restaurant/bar longer, and will spend more money as a result.

Obviously, this idea is not unique to NTN Buzztime. On Thursday night, I went to the Montclair, California Chili's for the first time in a long while, and when I looked at the tables in the restaurant, I saw that there was a standing tablet on every table.

The tablets are manufactured by a company called Ziosk, and while there are some differences between the Ziosk devices and the NTN Buzztime Playmakers, both have similar goals - to get restaurant/bar customers to spend as much money as possible. I don't really want to go into detail about Ziosk; perhaps I'll write some more about it in my Empoprise-BI business blog at some point. In the meantime, you can read what Venessa Wong wrote last September about Ziosk.

But for the purposes of the Empoprise-NTN NTN Buzztime blog, I do want to highlight one thing. I've already mentioned it, but I'll mention it again.

The Ziosk devices were on EVERY table.

And that can be a powerful differentiator.

If you think about it, for a restaurant/bar to get the most out of the Playmakers, a patron actually has to request the Playmaker. In every establishment that I've visited, the Playmakers are stored in the back of the restaurant, or behind the bar, getting charged. Of course, you could also use the NTN Buzztime mobile app, but you would have to download the app first.

With Ziosk, or at least the Ziosk installation at the Montclair Chili's that is not a concern. The Ziosk device is already there. You don't have to ask for it.

What if NTN Buzztime establishments had enough Playmakers so that one could be on every table? Would that increase use (and restaurant/bar revenue)? Would they be too hard to charge? Would they look too ugly on the tables? Would they need more functionality than trivia to be compelling?

Something to think about.

POSTSCRIPT: After writing this post, I belatedly discovered that Buzztime has its own tablet, called Beond. However, it is only available in select locations, and I don't know if the locations have a Beond device at every table.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The promise

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Fullerton with a little time on my hands, so I returned to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brea to play some trivia. My scores can be found on my profile.

This raises the question - why didn't I go to Lamppost Pizza in West Yorba Linda, where I had played in October 2013?

Simple reason - Lamppost Pizza has apparently discontinued Buzztime. And frankly, I can't blame them - I was one of the more frequent players there, and I hadn't been there in months.

Which returns me to my previous post in this blog, back from all the hoopla from my tenth anniversary of blogging. Back in the mid 1980s, the NTN technology held so much promise:

Bar Game Gives Bears Plenty Of Quarterbacks

September 11, 1987|By Jim Sulski.

When the Bears take the field Monday night against the New York Giants, Coach Mike Ditka and his quarterback-whoever he is-won`t be the only ones calling the plays.

In bars throughout Chicago and the rest of the nation, hundreds of fans also will be deciding whether to run, pass or kick. Instead of huddling with the players, however, they`ll simply be pushing buttons....

"This is the next stage after video games," said NTN sales representative Steve Perille, 24. "In this case, players actually interact with a live football game."

"People have been second-guessing the coach or the call ever since the first football game," added QB1 founding father Dan Downs, the executive vice president of NTN Communications. "We`re in a society where people just don`t want to be spectators, they want to be involved. That`s the market we`re aiming at."

However, the economics of the thing haven't really taken off, advancing at some times, retreating at others.

Steve Perille would be about 50 years old now. I began wondering what he was doing. I did find a Steve Perille from the Chicago area on LinkedIn, but he did not list NTN as one of his former employers. This Mr. Perille started performing business development for a staffing service in 1988, and continues in that industry today. If this is the same Steve Perille, then he would have left NTN a few months after the Chicago Tribune article was written.

Probably a good move.