New iPhone and iPad app rewards couch potatoes for watching lots of TV


Down time: It would take about three weeks of heavy TV watching to earn a $5 gift card

Viggle listens to what’s on TV and gives approximately two points per minute watched  

App collects demographic information such as age, gender, ZIP code, and email address

New iPhone and iPad app rewards couch potatoes for watching TV – with gift certificates to Burger King and Starbucks

Daily Mail | Jan 24, 2012

Want to earn stuff by merely watching TV? There’s an app for that.

A new app slated to be released today for iPhones and iPads rewards viewers for watching shows – the more shows the better.

When you tap the screen, Viggle’s software for iPhones and iPads listens to what’s on, recognizes what you’re watching and gives you credit at roughly two points per minute.

It even works for shows you’ve saved on a digital video recorder.

Rack up 7,500 points, and you’ll be rewarded with a $5 gift card from retailers such as Burger King, Starbucks, Apple’s iTunes, Best Buy and CVS, which you can redeem directly from your device.

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But the company plans to offer bonus points for checking into certain shows such as American Idol and 1,500 points for signing up.

You can also get extra points for watching an ad on your device. The beta version awarded 100 points for watching a 15-second ad from Verizon Wireless.

The venture was launched by American Idol backer Robert Sillerman, whose former company, CKX, owns the popular show.

‘Viggle is the first loyalty program for TV,’ said Chris Stephenson, president of the company behind Viggle, Function (X) Inc. ‘We’re basically allowing people to get rewards for doing something they’re doing already and that they love to do.’

The idea behind Viggle is that by giving people an added reason to watch TV, the size of the audience will increase, thereby allowing makers of shows to earn more money from advertisers.

Advertisers such as Burger King, Pepsi and Gatorade have also agreed to pay to have point-hungry users watch their ads on a mobile device.

In exchange, users earn points, which Viggle converts into real value by buying gift cards at a slight discount from retailers.

If the company gets the point-count economy right, it can end up making more money from advertisers and networks than it gives away in rewards.

The app will also give the company valuable insight into who is watching what, as redeeming rewards requires putting in your age, gender, email address and ZIP code.

‘It really shows what social TV is going to evolve into,’ said Michael Gartenberg, a technology analyst at research firm Gartner. ‘For folks behind the scenes, this is a great way of seeing who really is watching.’

The company hopes that user activity will grow by word of mouth, especially by offering a 200-point bonus to people who successfully get their friends to try out the service.

The app makes its debut in Apple Inc.’s app store on Wednesday. Versions for Android devices and computers are in the works.

The company has put in some safeguards. You must watch a show at least ten minutes to earn bonus points.

And you can’t watch the same ad over and over again to earn more points; there’s a one-ad-view-per-person rule.

Function (X) has brought in $100million in investment capital, and its stock trades on the Pink Sheets, a platform that allows people to buy shares but doesn’t require the company release its financial results.

Function (X) currently has a market value of about $1billion.

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