SusCom Helps Buzztime Gain Buzz and Subscribers


Buzztime Entertainment Inc. has begun play on Susquehanna Communications Inc.'s Williamsport, Pa., system.

It's also notched two more deals that will bring more gaming content from Media General Inc. in-house and extend Buzztime games to Digeo Inc.'s interactive TV platform on Charter Communications Inc. systems.

"We've learned a lot and figured out what works," said Buzztime president and chief operating officer Tyrone Lam of Buzztime's early cable experience. "We've refined our marketing and promotion program and are taking that solution to MSOs."

Buzztime will launch six games this month to Susquehanna's 7,000 digital subscribers in Williamsport, one year after its initial launch on SusCom's York, Pa., system. It's also launched on Time Warner Cable's Portland, Maine, system.

All told, Buzztime now reaches more than 50,000 digital subscribers.

The company continues to report solid numbers, both in usage and churn reduction. Forty-five percent of York's digital cable subscribers have registered and played the service, according to Buzztime.

"Our digital churn has been lowered and our customers have raved about Buzztime's great content," said SusCom vice president of programming and marketing Dan Templin. Buzztime plans to create some in-state rivalries. Players in both Pennsylvania towns will be able to compete against each other.

During each game, 15 local leaderboards will show the top 10 scores among local players. At the conclusion of each game, a national leaderboard will display the top 10 scores nationwide.

Over time, Buzztime will add a state and city leaderboard column, to infuse more local competitive bragging rights.

Three of Buzztime's games —Abused News, Memory
and Hexagone
— will appear on Digeo's interactive gaming channel on Charter systems in third-quarter of 2003.

Abused News
is a trivia game based on recent news headlines, Hexagone
is a tile game and Memory
is a take on the classic card-based game, in which players use their memory to find matches.

The move will give Buzztime a big boost, since Digeo has launched in 18 Charter markets that serve more than 700,000 digital subscribers. Digeo said the I-Channel gaming feature is popular among Charter subscribers.

In the first quarter of 2003, 31% of I-Channel homes played games, with users averaging 15 sessions per week

The Media General deal is an outgrowth of the May 8 announcement that the company had invested $3 million in NTN Communications, Buzztime's parent company.

The deal gives Buzztime the rights to offer Media General's BoxerJam
gaming content, which includes Strike a Match, Know it All, Out of Order, Hexagone, Monty, Poker Solitaire, Flexicon, Clink, CrossWire, Magnet-O, Elvis Lives and Dingbats.

The Media General games moves Buzztime beyond the trivia-only business.

"It has always been our intent to be much more than trivia," Lam said. "Now that we're the undistributed kings of trivia we can expand that to puzzle, single and multiplayer games of all genres, including parlor, head-to-head, quizzes. All that will be layered on top of player community technology we have."