Social TV companies Viggle, GetGlue to merge

The TV loyalty rewards service is acquiring the entertainment check-ins company for $25 million and 48.3 million shares of stock.

GetGlue

Viggle, a loyalty rewards service for TV viewing, announced today that it's buying GetGlue, a social network based on check-ins for entertainment, for $25 million and 48.3 million shares of stock.

The first order of business? Make sure GetGlue can make money.

GetGlue, an app that operates like Foursquare for entertainment, gives users virtual stickers for checking in while watching shows or movies. Those virtual stickers are then turned into real-life ones and mailed to users for their collection.

"Don't worry stickers are not going away!" GetGlue's announcement of the merger reads. The stickers feature shows and movies, as well as GetGlue ranks and levels.

Greg Consiglio, Viggle president and COO, said the Viggle app has been making money since it launched and the company intends to do the same with GetGlue. GetGlue brings 3.2 million registered users -- and a slew of media partners -- to Viggle. Viggle's app, which has 1.2 million users, automatically checks in for users using audio recognition and gives out points based on how many times they watch a show. These points are exchanged for gift cards or products.

A sample of the rewards you can earn using Viggle. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

The companies will meet "in the coming weeks and months" to decide whether the two brands will remain separate or not and which elements of the services will be combined, Consiglio said. Viggle may incorporate GetGlue's stickers, or GetGlue may incorporate Viggle's rewards.

Either way, Viggle "will start monetizing GetGlue right away," Consiglio said.

Monetization for apps usually means advertising or subscription views. Only 1.5 million of the combined users were active on the apps last month, but Consiglio said those who are active stay on the apps an average of 85 minutes each session, and he thinks that time is valuable to advertisers.

GetGlue founder and CEO Alex Iskold will join Viggle as a senior executive and as a member of its board of directors. Viggle is keeping all 35 GetGlue employees.

The merger depends on whether some strategic investments go through, which means Viggle is raising the funds to buy GetGlue with investments from other companies that would like to see the two unite. Consiglio said these investors "could be a media company, or could be somebody in the media strategic space, someone with hardware you might use to check in with."

GetGlue media partners include HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, USA Network, FOX, ABC, NBC, Warner Bros. Television, FX, and ABC Family; Viggle has a variety of advertising partners and relationships with Verizon and Direct TV.

 

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