Viggle acquires Loyalize in social TV deal

By Cory Bergman Comment

A big move in the social TV space today: Function(X), the parent company of the new TV loyalty app Viggle, announced today it’s acquiring Loyalize, a second-screen technology platform. Viggle was built using the Loyalize platform, and the acquisition gives Function(X) a white-label technology to expand its goal to reward viewers for watching and participating with their favorite TV shows. The companies did not release terms of the deal.

We profiled Viggle last month. Viewers are rewarded with points for checking into TV shows, and those points translate into rewards like $5 gift cards, Fandango movie tickets and iPod Shuffles. During Sunday’s Grammy Awards, Viggle said 78% of its active users checked into the event. “Viewers engaged with Viggle for more than one hour and 20 minutes as we asked them questions about what was happening live onstage. Loyalize introduces a level of engagement unlike anything on the market,” said Chris Stephenson, president of Viggle.

Loyalize has built a platform to power a live, second-screen experience, enabling viewers to play games, answer polls and discuss and share with other viewers from phones, tablets, laptops and connected TV sets. In December, Loyalize announced a deal to power a social experience for Yahoo!7 in Australia. “The Loyalize team is delighted to join Viggle,” said Kai Buehler, general manager of Loyalize. “Together, Loyalize and Viggle are a powerful combination that will help deepen the connection between TV fans, their favorite shows, and the brands they love.”

As we wrote about earlier this month, Function(X) is an aggressive new player in the social TV space. Founded by long-time media exec Robert Sillerman — who’s credited with launching American Idol — Function(x) showed 58 employees on its website before Loyalize’s acquisition. Today, it shows a long list of job openings to add to the team.

The marriage of Viggle and Loyalize makes a lot of sense, and it’s some of the first consolidation we’ve seen (with undoubtedly more to come.) Already this year, we’ve seen more deal and investment activity in social TV than most of last year. Stay tuned…