Today NYC-based Viggle, a service that rewards its users for their loyalty and engagement around television content, announced it has acquired GetGlue, a second screen application, for cash and stock. The two companies together now boast approximately 4.5 million registered users, and are now well-positioned as the second screen trend continues to explode with more and more viewers participating online via either their mobile or tablets.
Viggle, formerly called Function(x) Inc., will be paying $25 million in cash and 48.3 million shares of stock as part of the transaction, with both brands coming under the Viggle Inc. umbrella. Alex Iskold, founder and CEO of GetGlue, will be joining Viggle as part of its senior management team and a member of its board of directors, in addition to all 34 employees also being kept on board.
“Combined [GetGlue and Viggle] will have 4.5 million registered users, a web presence of 10 million monthly uniques, and [will be] able to talk to our brands and partners and talk about our market and our audience at a much larger scale than before,” Viggle’s CFO John Small said in an interview with BetaKit. “We had been monetizing our user base, and getting a lot traction with brands, but now also having the opportunity to monetize GetGlue’s audience is very exciting for us.”
Since media entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman launched Viggle in January 2012, the company has seen more than 1.2 million registered users get rewarded with points by automatically checking in via the company’s iOS and Android app. Points are redeemable for real-life rewards from retailers including Best Buy, Amazon, and iTunes. More recently it has added products like Viggle LIVE, a platform for voting, polling, and trivia, in addition to MyGuy, a fantasy sports game that knows which teams are playing in real-time when a user checks in.
BetaKit covered GetGlue earlier in the year when it hit three million users and launched a content discovery app for iPad. The company, founded in 2007, enables users to check in and socialize with other viewers, with more than 500 million entertainment ratings and check-ins to date. It also added its GetGlueHD product in the mix which acts as a TV guide for mobile devices, displaying both online and TV content in a calendar that aggregates social data about which friends are also planning to watch a show and what they’re expecting.
The new combined second screen company may just have what it takes to take the lead in what continues to be a social TV race being flooded with new entrants and disruptive technology. Already, BetaKit has covered startups like Pult which turns mobile phones into remote controls, and platforms likes SeeVibes looking to give media agencies and production houses access to analytics around second screen engagement during shows. That’s in addition to more direct competitors like Miso, yap.TV, Wayin, and zeebox, which launched in the U.S. with backing from Comcast and NBCUniversal.
Though there’s a competitive playing field for second screen apps, Small said that the now combined companies command an impressive 80-85 percent of the second screen market, and will be looking to defend their market position going forward. “I think clarity on market leadership is sort of the intangible here…the fact of the matter is we wanna start out in the number one position, and now we have to keep that obviously in a growing industry, but we’d rather start out being the clear leader as opposed to trying to overtake that position,” Small added. Whether they can keep that lead as startups and broadcasters increasingly look to win over viewers’ attention while they watch TV remains to be seen, as does whether the company can find new ways to monetize GetGlue’s audience.