I remember the days when I would be on the phone with my friends for the entire length of a television program. Yes. It was the X-Files. We'd be on the phone so we could talk about the drama during the commercial breaks and feel the sense of a communal experience. Today that community is still very much alive on the Internet with the second-screen interaction.
One such company, that has been gaining a lot of attention from its two million users and its handful of investors is GetGlue. The website, iPhone app and Facebook plug-in announced Wednesday that it had just added another $12 million funding.
The latest round of Series D financing, led by Rho Ventures, also included existing funders: TimeWarner Investments, RRE Ventures, and Union Square Ventures.
Launched less than two years ago, GetGlue has attracted more than two million users of its Web and mobile apps so that they can check-in to TV shows or movies, comment along with other fans, gain loyalty points and memorabilia and discover new shows that people like them watch.
Many have speculated, including your's truly, that this year would be the year of social interaction with produced content (also known as second screen interaction.)
This year we started seeing TV programs create hashtags for viewers to stream live comments and questions about programs such as Glee and American Idol. In fact, a study done at the very beginning of 2011 showed that 86% of people were already using their mobile devices while watching television and throughout the year more people started taking that time to tweet or comment about the shows they were watching.
Next year we will see an even deeper focus on assuring that people watching their shows and perusing the Internet at the same time will be focused on the program on TV.
In addition to TV networks including hashtags in the aired programs and streaming content encouraging watchers to comment and share what they are viewing, many companies have started capitalizing on the advertisement revenues available when joining forces with major programs.
People have already changed the way that they watch TV to include the constant checking of emails, chatting on Facebook and looking on IMDB from their iPad to figure out where they had seen that actor before -- now companies like GetGlue and Miso are creating dedicated communities where that discussion can happen in real-time.
And GetGlue has made some great partnerships with the companies that are creating the content -- 75 of the major television networks, including ABC, FOX, NBC, TNT, USA and Food Network — in order to provide breaking news, perks and insight from the programers themselves.
GetGlue says that it saw 100 million log-ins in 2011, which brought the total check-in total to 350 million since its inception.
While Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram get greater activity and location log-ins on a daily or monthly basis, second screen communities have an even greater opportunity to capture the highly coveted movie and TV advertising and promotional dollars since the self-selected community is clearly very devoted to particular programming.
"We are working on building a more personalized, media-rich second screen experience for phones, tablets, and GetGlue.com," the GetGlue blog stated. "We are also making a big investment into our platform and looking forward to enabling check-ins from more third-party applications and websites."
Since GetGlue users are extremely active, network stations often look to see how audiences are responding to story arcs and characters in real-time. This is a valuable and highly-marketable tool for production companies to access and I expect to see more companies like GetGlue creating deeper integration with the shows it markets.
Below is the chart that GetGlue found from its check-in data points and it very closly reflects the findings of most of trackers of TV programming.