What the Viggle-GetGlue acquisition means for the battle over the second screen

By Cory Bergman 

Another Monday and another big acquisition announcement in the social TV world. As we reported earlier today, Viggle scooped up GetGlue, combining to form a second screen powerhouse in an increasingly competitive space. GetGlue has the bigger audience, but Viggle has the deeper pockets, a publicly-traded company (VGGL) founded by former American Idol exec Robert Sillerman that acquired Loyalize and quickly ramped up an aggressive team.

“Both companies are leaders in the exploding Social TV industry and have very active user bases,” Viggle President and COO Greg Consiglio told us when we asked why they made the acquisition. “Combining the complimentary product and engineering platforms we believe that consumers are going to be the big winners with better second screen experiences.”

As of this writing, Viggle’s stock is up 57%.

GetGlue’s bread and butter has been the TV “check-in” and virtual rewards in the former of stickers (active users can get real stickers mailed to them.) Viggle also employs check-ins along with real-time trivia and voting, but users are rewarded with points redeemable for movie tickets, music and gift cards. Viggle has been outspoken about its belief that real rewards are a better payoff for encouraging viewers to engage with a second-screen app.

“Viggle absolutely believes in the value of real rewards and frankly we recognize that there is also value in virtual rewards and stickers,” Consiglio told Lost Remote today. “We will continue to be guided by giving consumers what they want. That could mean virtual and real rewards being a part of both brands going forward.”

Both approaches have worked in their own ways. Viggle has reported incredible engagement with its app, while GetGlue has even surpassed Twitter with social activity around scripted shows while ramping up its community features. However, Viggle’s loyalty angle may have more monetization potential, as Consiglio points out. “The combined business will benefit from the increased user base and Viggle’s proven ability to monetize the activity.”

With the addition of Zeebox in the U.S. market — and its partnership with Comcast — the race to scale has taken on new significance. Not to mention, Twitter is showing a concerted interest in growing its second screen features, and Yahoo-IntoNow-ABCNews is always a combination to watch. The Viggle-GetGlue acquisition certainly puts them in a strong position, especially when you consider the likelihood that Viggle’s reward system will roll out on GetGlue.

“The two teams will begin working on plans to take the best off each other’s products, features, technologies and partnerships and build great experiences for consumers,” Consiglio said, stopping short of answering whether both brands will remain standalone destinations. “Our commitment is to our users and future users building great consumer experiences. We think each platform does great things for consumers that the other does not currently. Bringing that all together into one company is very exciting.”

We’ll keep you updated.