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The mind game

Quizzing now is not only seen as a prominent mind sport but also has big brand value. What's in your office inbox, in the pub, posted by friends on social media and can increasingly earn you big bucks? A: It's the quiz! Srishti Jha writes.

india Updated: May 05, 2013 03:11 IST
Srishti Jha
Srishti Jha
Hindustan Times

Quizzing now is not only seen as a prominent mind sport but also has big brand value. Immense public interest is bringing big brands and sponsors to the quizzing circuit.

Marketers are using the quiz to reach out to markets, employers use it to engage with employees, and peer groups too have begun to bond over guessing the right thing. Last month, two new quiz shows arrived on national TV: 'Indian Quiz League' on National Geographic Channel and 'Kannadada Kotyadhipathi (KK) season 2', the biggest reality quiz show on Kannada TV on Suvarna Channel and 'Disney Q (Family Mastermind)', which takes BBC's 'Mastermind' to Disney Channel in a new family format, along with Kaun Banega Crorepati entering its 7th season.

An MP too has now bitten the bug. Shashi Tharoor will be hosting an online quiz show for Kerala Tourism starting this month which will go on for two months. And we haven't even begun counting quiz clubs, big and small, across the country.

Indians are known for their love of knowledge and quizzing prowess - the International Quizzing Association, on since 2003, the umbrella organisation of various quizzing organisations from more than 25 countries around the world, has a high 25 % participation of Indians at the annual World Quizzing Championship.

It's little wonder then that the quiz has come home to roost. And how. Raj Dam, founder, Quizworks, a leading quiz company set up three years ago, says, "In the last 15 years, quizzing has evolved into a commercial trend. It has developed both as a science and an art." Explains Dam, "Currently the trend is to make the quiz smart by gamifying of the content. Instead of a boring datasheet, one would prefer an interesting contest. We've done quizzes related to child labour, corruption and social issues which were well taken. I noticed that live quizzing is still an active trend in small towns." Dam feels that quizzing is still a nascent sunrise industry and content design is an important factor which takes it to a different level.

"The quizzing trend is now identified as a "new-age marketing tool/ means to achieve right brand communication" apart from being a well tested "employee engagement initiative". says quizmaster Harneet Singh from Quizworks. He adds, "Quizzing is undergoing a sea change given the rise of "entertainment and engagement oriented formats", surge in rewards and incentives to participate. New prizes like trips to global auto shows, foreign holiday, etc all are coming up as exciting prizes."

Quizzing in India has diverse participating from different age groups and interests. Says Neil O' Brien, considered the Father of quizzing in India, "My first contact with television and quizzing happened in 1966 when I visited England. I came back and in Kolkata, I organized the first ever open quiz in the country and it had mass participation. People used to participate for money or fun."

Says quizmaster Derek O' Brien who believes that the meat of the quizzing action is the sharply focused quiz show with a specific audience, "In the 70's and 80's, there were quiz stage shows and then quizzing moved to television. TV quizzes started with Siddharth Basu's Quiztime, The Bournvita Quiz Contest and then KBC."

Derek O' Brien who completes his 25th year of professional quizzing, says, "The four letter word has moved beyond just knowledge and has revived as a trend. The focus has moved in the last ten years and it will keep moving in the coming years with new ideas."

His company, Derek O'Brien & Associates, a Kolkata-based firm with 70 people, conducts about 1, 400 quizzes every year out of which O' Brien does less than 50. He feels quizzing is a good career option for those interested in research as well as presentation.

Quizzing is now a way to unwind and interact in a context that is separated from the workday, and offers a way to de-stress. It's very much gathering space in both the online and offline spaces. Says online expert Prashanto K Roy, " Quizzing online on social media sites makes it more engaging and getting mass involvement either for gathering information or an association with the brands."

Quiz clubs, associations, websites, applications, and groups have been rising. Karnataka Quiz Association, Bombay Quiz Club, NSIT Quiz Club etc are leaving a mark and have noticed an increasing interest in the participation of people.

Says Sumant Srivathsan from the Bombay Quiz Club, "The biggest shift in quizzing over the past decade has been the wild surge of business quizzing. Events like the Tata Crucible and Brand Equity quizzes have helped raise the profile of business quizzing significantly, and are highly lucrative, as marketers find it a lot easier to put their money behind these events."

He adds, "The quizzing community is now going international. Indians participate in the annual Norwegian Open quiz, the World Quizzing Championship, and other such events hosted locally by the various quiz clubs in India, with the Karnataka Quiz Association taking the lead with Mahaquizzer, MegaWhats and Mindsweep."

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