Viggle Pays Viewers to Watch TV
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
January 23 2012 02:51 PM ET
CREDIT: Burger King
With a new mobile app called Viggle, the same companies that subject you to endless TV commercials will give you gift cards if you "check into" certain shows – that is, announce to your social network that you are watching them. It's a painless way to profit from advertising exposure and it may help networks draw more eyeballs to new or overlooked shows.
Already, Burger King, Sephora, Fandango, Best Buy and Starbucks have agreed to offer gift cards as rewards. Viewers earn them by watching live, recorded and online shows from more than 100 broadcast and cable channels , according to a statement from Function(x), Viggle's parent company. While the company has not revealed its participating channels, its president, Chris Stephenson, told AdAge in an interview how the point system will work.
"Think of 1,000 points being a dollar as just a benchmark -- a benchmark that's not precise, but if a thousand points is a dollar, a $5 gift card might normally be 5,000 points," Stephenson said. Viewers could accumulate a "couple of hundred points in a night."
While checking in might seem like a sofa juggling act with a phone and a remote, most people (86 percent) already use their phone or tablet to go online while watching television, according to TV-analyst firm Nielsen.
Viggle integrates with Facebook and Twitter, so viewers can tap into real-time conversations about the show they are watching. This is not a new concept. Mobile app GetGlue lets users share what they're reading, listening to and watching, right to Facebook -- but Viggle provides more than conversation, it pays people to watch TV.
The free app will soon be available in the United States for download through the iTunes App Store for all iPhone , iPad and iPod-touch users. For now, people can sign up with an email address to "request an invitation" to Viggle. Viggle says tailored versions for iPad, Android and the Web will follow shortly.