Viggle acquires social network GetGlue as second screen advertising continues to grow

Last week I looked at how the phenomenon of the second screen in television advertising was developing, in relation to Ricky Hatton’s (unsuccessful) return to the boxing ring. In that case the team their had a social media campaign launched around a one-off piece of event television. However, the same techniques are being increasingly used around more general television viewing.

Viggle and GetGlue have been significant parts of this. Viggle is an app for iOS and Android that gives users rewards for watching their favorite television programmes either live or recorded. GetGlue is a social network built around checking in to watch a programme. Think Foursquare for entertainment. The two apps are now combining forces though, as Viggle has acquired GetGlue (subject to some financing arrangements).

Despite being a newer company, Viggle have more money, and it is likely that they will now incorporate their advertising technology into the more social GetGlue. Speaking to AdWeek Viggle’s president and COO Greg Consiglio said:

“You could imagine that in the near term we’d be looking at ways to expand our advertising platform into that user base.”

Although the two companies seem well matched, they do serve significantly different purposes.  Returning to the Foursquare analogy, the competition between Viggle and GetGlue is not the same as that company’s battle with Gowalla. In fact, Consiglio went on to say that something that was attractive about the merger was this difference:

“We loved the idea that you could combine two brands and not have a lot of overlap between the user bases.”

This will be of benefit to both companies as it means Viggle can expand their advertising platform, and GetGlue can further monetize its 3 million users.

While its user numbers are not to be sniffed at, GetGlue has certainly found it hard to put itself at the forefront of social television viewing. Many people prefer to use Twitter hashtags to follow and participate in discussions. In the UK we see that almost every day with programmes like Match of the Day, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and Question Time. This funding and move towards an advertising network may help GetGlue establish itself, particularly if it can start offering its users rewards.

The deal will also give ad buyers and those orchestrating digital campaigns another platform of loyal television viewers to tap into. It’s easy to imagine campaigns emerging around specific products associated with checking in to watching a certain programme, and building that information into the social graph.