Viggle, the TV loyalty service, looks set to acquire GetGlue, the social TV application, for cash and stock, according to Robert F.X. Sillerman, the Executive Chairman and CEO of Viggle. Viggle will pay $25 million in cash and 48.3 million shares of stock for GetGlue. Viggle will then own and operate both the Viggle and GetGlue brands, and GetGlue founder and CEO Alex Iskold will join Viggle in a senior executive position on its management team. Viggle will also absorb all 34 GetGlue employees.
Although it might seem a little early for consolidation to be happening in such a nascent part of the industry, it’s already becoming clear that many of the second screen start-ups are going to have to team up if they’re going to have a sustainable future and/or be acquired by a bigger player.
The difficulties for second screen companies are compounded by the fact that many of their competitors have either: (a) had a huge head-start (Shazam, Twitter and Facebook, for example) and already have huge user bases; or (b) are newer companies like Zeebox who have already shored up deals and sold equity to various leading broadcasters/networks. So combining the users, development resources and partnerships of both Viggle and GetGlue certainly isn’t premature.
Robert F.X. Sillerman, CEO of Viggle, said. “We will be vastly increasing the Viggle user base and quadrupling our network partnerships. Viggle and GetGlue users can look forward to using the apps they have come to love as we add new and appealing features made possible by the combined resources of this clear industry leader.”
GetGlue was founded in New York in 2007 and enables users to check-in and socialise while watching TV, discover what to watch via a personalised guide, and find videos, images, and links from TV shows. It has more than 3.2 million registered (i.e. not necessarily active) users as well as a database with more than 500 million entertainment ratings and check-ins.
Viggle, launched in January 2012, rewards its more than 1.2 million registered (again, not necessarily active) users, who acquire points for their loyalty to and engagement with content around TV shows. Users can then exchange the points for real-world rewards from places like Best Buy, Amazon, Fandango, Hulu Plus and iTunes, among others. Viggle uses audio verification technology which allows users to check into live, DVR’d and online TV content from more than 170 of the most popular broadcast and cable channels.