Stalwart game show “The Price is Right” and venerable cable channel QVC might not conjure up thoughts of today’s innovative startup scene, but ingredients from both tried-and-true concepts are being brought into a new Wisconsin-made mobile app.
After tinkering around with logistics behind the scenes for the past few years, Madison-based Gravy Live launched its new shopping-themed game show app in May. Billed as the “first ever shopping game show you can play on your phone,” Gravy Live is a nightly game show accessed via mobile where users compete for cash prizes and products.
“The raw spontaneity of a live game show, combined with e-commerce, is something anyone with a mobile device would want to be a part of.”
In a nod to elements of yesteryear, Gravy Live’s founders are streaming the game show at the same time daily — 7:30 p.m. Central — in the hopes of making it destination, appointment viewing. It’s also a similar approach to HQ Trivia, a popular twice-daily mobile app where contestants win money by answering trivia questions.
“We felt there was an opportunity in this huge medium called live,” Craig Andler, one of three serial entrepreneurs behind the new endeavor, said in an interview with Wisconsin Inno. “We think we are making something that can become appointment viewing.”
Gravy Live is still in its infancy and, at present, is available only to Apple users as an iOS app. But Andler said the company is fast at work on an Android version of the app as well, and further details will soon be coming down the pike on its launch.
The movement toward live programming in the app development sphere flies in the face of the explosion of on-demand viewing and how it has impacted content consumption.
Andler, however, said he believes there still is a place for appointment viewing. He offers a caveat, however.
“The content has to be extremely compelling,” Andler said.
The company, Andler said, also believes each episode should be brief and fast-paced. The nightly show averages 10 to 15 minutes in length.
“It’s snackable,” Andler said of the format. “It’s meant to be a very innovative, highly engaging experience. We really like what we’re seeing.”
In a statement, Gravy CEO Brian Wiegand said he believes the mobile show has all of the right elements to succeed in the marketplace.
“The raw spontaneity of a live game show, combined with e-commerce, is something anyone with a mobile device would want to be a part of,” Wiegand said.
Each episode of Gravy Live features a new product available for purchase. The interactive game show element comes into play as users play and bid on the item as the price drops.
On average, discounts range from 30 percent to 70 percent off the original price. In a twist, a portion of each evening’s proceeds also goes toward a designated charitable organization.
Users strongly desiring the evening episode’s featured product could be compelled to buy earlier, rather than later, because of the risk of quantities diminishing.
In its infancy, Wiegand said the range of products featured on Gravy Live has run the gamut.
“We have featured products in wearable tech, sports apparel and electronics that have had our early users coming back every night for a chance to win a great deal,” Wiegand said.
Andler said great care went into setting Gravy Live up for success in the lead up to the launch. Planning included methodically cementing the daily stream time around the prospect of peak viewership opportunities.
“It’s a pretty easy time to drop in for appointment viewing,” Andler said of the 7:30 p.m. Central Time streaming. Office workers, he said, typically have arrived home for the day and are settled in for the evening.
In a nod to possible future opportunities, however, Andler prefaces, “It’s not the only ideal time, though.”
To date, Gravy has raised more than $2.1 million in investments. Its most recent round closed in November.
This Gravy Live episode, which was streamed May 7, provides a glimpse into the show’s format. Host Joe Buettner, whose nicknames include Captain Bowtie, offers up a high-octane delivery throughout the program.