HBO, GetGlue Getting Fans to ‘Check In’ on Boardwalk Empire

HBO is looking to establish its next appointment TV series with the much-hyped Prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire, which debuts this Sunday (Sept. 19).

To that end, the network is looking to encourage viewers to check in to their appointments on a regular basis via GetGlue, a rapidly growing social networking site that has been likened to Foursquare (but for entertainment).

GetGlue users “check in” to their favorite movies, books and TV shows via GetGlue.com or a corresponding mobile app, alerting friends and other fans of their favorites, while vying for points and rewards in the process.

Starting on Sunday, HBO will urge GetGlue to check into the premiere of Boardwalk Empire to earn the first of 12 exclusive virtual “stickers.” Each sticker, which can only be earned as the show airs for the first time each week, features a whiskey glass. The virtual glass will gradually fill with booze over time as long as viewers check in for each of the 12 Boardwalk episodes.

HBO’s promotional push via GetGlue comes on the heels of a promotional push by Fox, which is using the service to push a pair of its fall series: the sitcom Raising Hope, which will be promoted to self-described fans of Glee; and the soapy drama Lonestar, which is being marketed to Bones fans.

According to CEO and founder Alex Iskold, several other top broadcast networks have expressed interest in using GetGlue to spread the word about their fall lineups, and he expects that a handful will roll out campaigns in the coming weeks. While GetGlue averages about 600,000 active users, Iskold estimates that every thousand user-mentions that occur on the site/app, a half of million people are subsequently reached on Twitter along with another 250,000 on Facebook.

“What networks are finding on our site is that people who check in to their favorite series are very distinct from people who say they ‘like’ a show once on a social network,” said Iskold. “Repetitive check ins are very revealing. Those are the most engaged fans of a show. This lets networks identify different types of fans.”

Boardwalk Empire is not the first HBO series to employ GetGlue. True Blood has been active on the site; per Iskold, within the first five minutes of a recent episode, 5,000 people checked in to the show. “We capture a burst of activity that you can’t get anywhere else,” said Iskold.