One of the most satisfying experiences in life is to be rewarded for your hard work and perseverance. But what’s also great is to be rewarded for something you enjoy doing in your daily life without expending much effort. Viggle is the latter, a service that will reward you for watching TV.
That’s right, if you’re looking for an excuse to watch TV, Viggle’s got you covered. Viggle gives you points for checking into TV shows then lets you spend your points on the reward of your choice. You can redeem your points for something as small as a gift card or you can save up for the biggest prize – a cruise to the Caribbean. You can also donate your points to charity, such as the American Red Cross to help Hurricane Sandy victims.
I recently spoke with Greg Consiglio, President and COO of Viggle, about the company and its app that was launched in January this year. “We decided to build Viggle as a loyalty platform for TV. People love TV, they love their shows, but TV doesn’t love them back. Now there’s an opportunity for people to get something back for the time they invest in watching TV.”
Although Viggle is less than a year old, it has become popular quickly, currently having 1.2 million users. The average Viggle user has 85 minutes of check in time a night, according to Consiglio.
Currently, Viggle is only available in the US, but international expansion plans are in the future.
How Viggle Works
In short, you use Viggle by pressing a button on your phone to check in to a TV show to earn points you can redeem for rewards.
You can download the free Viggle app from the iTunes App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and from Google Play for Android devices. (Consiglio says they expect to expand to other platforms in the future.) After you download the app, you register for a Viggle account with your name, email address, zip code and TV provider.
“Every show gets a point a minute,” said Consiglio.
After you have the app on your phone and have registered your account, you’re ready to check in to shows. Press the Check In tab on the bottom tool bar and you’ll be taken to a Check In screen. Press the button and the app will listen to the sound of the TV for about 10 seconds. The app then analyzes the data to determine which show you’re watching.
When Viggle figures it out, the app asks you to confirm your check in. You get one point for each minute you watch that show. Viggle figures you’re watching that show until it’s over or until you check in to another show. “As long as you don’t check into something else, you’ll earn a point a minute for that show,” said Consiglio.
The audio content recognition technology is impressive. I tested the app to see whether Viggle could tell the difference between Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News from Brian William on Rock Center. To make the test extra tough, I played a recording of NBC Nightly News while Rock Center was airing live. Sure enough, Viggle knew the difference between Brian Williams’ voice on the two shows and correctly identified each show.
The app isn’t perfect, sometimes it guesses wrong, in which case you can close the confirmation screen and try again. Be sure there isn’t any background noise and that the sound on your TV is loud enough for the app to hear it.
You have up to seven days after a show airs to check in when you watch it recorded on your DVR. Sometimes you get bonuses for watching live. “A network might come to us and say, ‘On Tuesday night offer 500 points if someone watches it live,'” explained Consiglio.
The app doesn’t cover local shows, nor all shows on all networks, but does cover two hundred channels in prime time every night, according to Consiglio. Check the What’s On tab to see a guide of shows from your TV provider. The app also provides a list of featured shows and shows with the most chatter.
You can earn bonus points for activities such as watching videos (a/k/a ads) in the app or on YouTube, playing trivia games, voting in polls and purchasing from Viggle partners. These bonus points can add up quickly so be on the lookout for opportunities to earn them.
Almost every show I’ve checked in to has offered a video ad to watch to earn bonus points. These video ads are targeted to the user. “I can have four people on a couch watching the same program and deliver four different ads to them based on their check in to that show,” said Consiglio.
Viggle sometimes partners with networks to offer bonus points and rewards for things such as checking in to every episode of a TV show during a season. Consiglio gave the example of getting a walk on part on a TV show as a bonus reward.
DirecTV is partnered with Viggle and offers bonus points for checking in to certain TV shows and movies. Currently, Viggle is offering 200,000 bonus points for Viggle users who switch to DirecTV using the Viggle app. That’s nearly enough points to earn an Apple TV, for example, or get you closer to that cruise.
To find out how to earn bonus points, check out Viggle Boy, a blog dedicated to showing you how to earn points on Viggle.
After you have started earning points, you’ll look forward to redeeming them for rewards. Consiglio gave examples of rewards such as movie tickets, gift cards, contest entries and other products from companies including Starbucks, JC Penney, Sephora, Foot Locker, and Best Buy. The choice of rewards ranges from discounts on products to a Royal Caribbean cruise. The cruise costs 4 million points so don’t expect to earn a cruise overnight. But by checking in you’ll be getting closer to that cruise with each show you watch.
“If you’re willing to put in the time to watch TV, play the games and earn extra points, you’d be surprised how quickly you can earn points,” said Consiglio.
You can also redeem your points for donations to charities. In November, Viggle had a seven day challenge to match donations to the American Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Sandy up to $20,000. During that week, Viggle and its users combined to donate $50,000 to the Red Cross. “One person in New Jersey who had hundreds of thousands of points decided to cash them in to help victims of Hurricane Sandy instead of going on a cruise,” said Consiglio.
After it first launched on iTunes, Viggle adjusted its points system, resulting in an outcry from Viggle fans. Consiglio explained that the points initially required to earn a reward were too low. “Like many start-ups, when we launched we didn’t know much about the way our platform would work, we didn’t know how many points we should give out versus how many points a reward should cost to run our business effectively. The ratio of how many points it took to get a reward economically wasn’t correct.”
Rewards aren’t the only benefit from using Viggle. When you check in with Viggle, you may earn a V-Gift. V-Gifts, launched in November, are delivered to your email inbox the day after you check in and can give you deals such as 10% off at the Gap or $25 off of your meal at Buca de Beppo.
This fall, Viggle entered the realm of Fantasy Football with MyGuy. When you check into a live college or NFL football game you can choose players to earn extra Viggle points. If your chosen players do well, you earn points. If they don’t do well, you lose points. You can substitute players any time during the game to earn a maximum of 1000 extra Viggle points for a game.
You compete with others in a pool of ten people for choosing the best player. Right now those people are chosen at random but in the future you’ll be able to compete with your friends from Facebook. The top four Viggle users in a game earn points for their account.
With Viggle, you can set reminders, Like a show and share your check ins on social media. You can also click to IMDB and Wikipedia directly from the app when you check in to some shows. With Viggle Live, you can answer trivia questions and respond to polls to earn bonus points.
Viggle and GetGlue
If you’ve read GetGlue HD – Your New Favorite Entertainment Guide!, you may already be checking in to GetGlue when you watch TV to earn stickers and share your comments with others. Viggle recently entered into an agreement to purchase GetGlue for $25 million plus 48.3 million shares of Viggle stock (symbol VGGL), worth approximately $82 million, as of the closing price on Friday.
Viggle has not yet determined whether the GetGlue and Viggle apps will be combined into a single Social TV app. “We’re exploring and considering all options, but it’s too early to determine whether we’ll combine to form one app. We want to do what’s best for our members, network and brand partners so that’ll lead our discussions and decisions.”
If changes are made, they won’t be immediate. “The Viggle experience and GetGlue experience will continue to be the same for the time being. Vigglers will continue to get rewarded for watching TV with Viggle, while GetGlue users will continue to get stickers for their favorite TV shows.”
If you’re looking to earn rewards for watching TV, check out Viggle and check in!
Do you like earning rewards for watching TV? Have you ever tried Viggle? What do you think of the GetGlue acquisition by Viggle? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!