Television loyalty service Viggle has announced plans to acquire social television application GetGlue and its developer AdaptiveBlue for $25 million in cash plus stock. Founded by media entrepreneur Robert Sillerman, Viggle was launched in January 2012 and has over a million registered users, who can receive loyalty points for watching television, convertible into real-world rewards.
The Viggle app, available for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, automatically identifies the television shows its users are watching using audio recognition across 170 broadcast and cable channels and awards them points when they check-in. Users can redeem points for rewards such as movie tickets, music, gift cards or they can convert them into charitable donations.
“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,” said Robert Sillerman, the founder and chief executive of Viggle.
Alex Iskold, the founder and chief executive of GetGlue, will join the Viggle Board and executive team. “We are very excited to join forces with Viggle!,” he said. “GetGlue has built a social TV product that people love, and Viggle has become their favourite 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.”
Founded in 2007, GetGlue allows users to check-in while watching television, discover what to watch through a personalized guide and get links to related material. GetGlue has over three million registered users and a database of more than 500 million entertainment ratings and checkins. It is not clear whether the GetGlue brand will ultimately be retained.
The acquisition by Viggle represents a modest return on the $24 million that GetGlue has raised in funding, beyond receiving 48 million shares in Viggle stock, nominally worth a further $50 million. The deal is apparently also contingent on Viggle raising a further $60 million in funding.
GetGlue was an early pioneer in the increasingly crowded field of social television loyalty applications. Yahoo! acquired IntoNow for an undisclosed sum in April 2011. Miso, another early entrant, has been experimenting with various approaches but has so far failed to engage a significant following.
The British contender for this space, zeebox, has also entered this market, choosing to become a strategic partner with television platforms and broadcasters, including Sky in the United Kingdom, Comcast and NBCUniversal among others in the United States, and most recently Network Ten in Australia.