Starting next month, brands can deliver content such as a digital coupon or sweepstakes entry when consumers tag a TV commercial via mobile app Viggle.
The app, billed as a TV loyalty program, launched Jan. 26. It allows consumers to check in to TV shows and receive rewards points that can be redeemed for items such as a Burger King gift card or movie ticket from Fandango. The app’s proprietary audio recognition technology enables it to identify shows from more than 150 channels, including the major broadcast networks.
“The same technology that enables you to check in to a show [will now also] enable you to check in to a commercial,” said Chris Stephenson, president of Function(x), the company behind the app. Advertisers, he added, "can associate themselves around key shows that they’re engaged in or want to be involved in. ... You’re basically creating a direct response out of their advertising, which is the Holy Grail.”
Through a TV ad, an automotive brand, for instance, could present a consumer with an offer to register for a test drive, enter a sweepstakes, receive a digital coupon or play an interactive driving game, Stephenson offered as an example of the coming capability.
He declined to specify which advertisers are testing the ad recognition capability. Verizon, Pepsi, Gatorade, Capital One, Burger King and Fandango are among the brands running ads within the app. More than 30 companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, Home Depot and Hulu Plus have partnered with Viggle to offer rewards in exchange for the points consumer accrue while using the app. Consumers can also exchange rewards points for donations to charities such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Viggle is able to target ads and offers to consumers based on their geolocation, interests and mobile devices. The app is only available for iOS devices, but Stephenson said an Android and iPad-only versions are in the works.
Viggle isn’t the first app to connect TV content with mobile devices. IntoNow and Shazam have  partnered  on similar efforts with brands such as Pepsi Max and Old Navy, respectively. And in November, eBay added  to its iPad app the ability to tag TV shows and receive relevant product listings.