TV loyalty service Viggle snaps up GetGlue for $25M

Steven Loeb · November 19, 2012 · Short URL:

Viggle users earn points by answering trivia questions or voting for their favorite shows

I’m a big fan of the NBC show Community. And, as anyone out there who watches the show knows, it has a huge following on the Internet. HUGE. People are incredibly devoted to the show, sometimes to the point where it becomes almost nuts. Fans are constantly creating memes, songs, videos, games and all sorts of other stuff. It’s something that would have been unheard of a decade ago, but now has become almost commonplace for cult television shows. It’s a sign of how the way people are altering their viewing habits.

Television loyalty service Viggle has purchased social televison app GetGlue, it was announced Monday.

Viggle is paying $25 million in cash, along with 48.3 million shares of stock, to acquire GetGlue. In addition, all 34 of GetGlue’s employees, including CEO Alex Iskold, will be going Viggle, which will operate both the Viggle and GetGlue brands going forward. Iskold is set to join Viggle in a senior executive position on its management team, and will also become a member of its Board of Directors.

“We are very excited to join forces with Viggle! GetGlue has built a Social TV product that people love, and Viggle has become their favorite loyalty program for TV. Together we are positioned to deliver the next generation second screen experiences that delight and benefit users, networks and major brands,” Iskold said in a statement.

New York City-based GetGlue was founded in 2007. It allows users to 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.

The service has over 3.2 million registered users,  and a database with more than 500 million entertainment ratings and check-ins.

In January, GetGlue raised a $12 million Series D in a round led by Rho Ventures, along with existing funders TimeWarner Investments, RRE Ventures, and Union Square Ventures, pushing its total funding to $24 million.

New York City-based Viggle launched less than a year ago, in January 2012. It has 1.2 million users who are able to earn points for being loyal to their favorite shows, by voting, answering trivia questions or taking part in polls in real time with Viggle LIVE. Customer can also earn points from a service called MyGuy, a next generation fantasy sports game that knows which teams are playing when the Viggle user checks into a game on TV. Viggle allows users to check into live, DVR’d and online TV content from more than 170 of the most popular broadcast and cable channels.

Viggle users can redeem their points for real rewards at retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, Fandango, Hulu Plus and iTunes.

“With this deal, we are combining very experienced and creative product, engineering and management teams that will continue to build great user experiences and provide industry leading platforms for consumers, networks and advertisers,” Robert Sillerman, Executive Chairman and CEO of Viggle, said in a statement. “We will also be vastly increasing the Viggle user base and quadrupling our network partnerships. Viggle and GetGlue users can look forward to using the apps they have come to love as we add new and appealing features made possible by the combined resources of this clear industry leader.”

This is the second purchase of a company that was created to capitalize on the way the Internet has made television into a more social experience.

Last week, NM Incite, a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Company, purchased SocialGuide to measure whether social sharing is helping to boost ratings.

SocialGuide is a real-time social television capture service that covers programming on 232 channels in English and Spanish. It encompasses over 30,000 television programs. Its analytics and engagement platform provides insight on the social impact of TV, enabling networks to engage with the social fan base in real time.

The changing TV landscape

Nielsen study found that nearly 86% of tablet owners, and 88% of smartphone users, play on their device while watching TV.

The study found that  that  the most common device activity occurring along with your TV viewing is checking email, with searches related to TV programming coming in second.

The second study broke down the demographics of who used their phones the most by age and gender, and what they were most likely to be looking at.   

It found that, once again, checking e-mail was the most common reason for going online while watching television. When it came to visiting a social network, the second most popular activity, women were more likely to do this than men, with 50% of women and 44% of men of performing that task.

Men, on the other hand, were more likely to check sports scores, and look up information about the show they were watching.

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