Watch TV, Get Rewards

Posted on by Patty Odell

Finally, for all those couch potatoes around the country who continually fend off advice to get up, drop to the floor and do 20, help has arrived. A new app, Viggle, is designed to reward us lay-abouts with points for checking into our favorite TV shows.

This is all new and untested, so whether TV viewers, and maybe more importantly, network partners, actually buy into the idea of rewarding loyalty to broadcast programming is yet to be seen.

I however, would like to earn points toward rewards. Some of Viggle’s partners include Best Buy, Sephora and Hulu. I’m watching anyway so I might as well get something special for my dedication, like a gift card for free cosmetics or movie tickets. For TV viewers who would like to do something a bit more meaningful with their points for our planet, they can be converted into charitable donations.

Viggle, termed a rewards-based loyalty program for television, is available at the iTunes App Store for iPhones. Versions for iPad, Android and the web are under development, according to its developer Function(x). The app seems easy to use. It works by automatically identifying what television shows users are watching and awards them points when they check-in. An online rewards catalog houses reward items like music and gift cards. The idea is to reward TV viewers for watching, not only their favorite shows, but also for checking out new shows.

To market the app, Burger King, Capital One, Gatorade, Pepsi and Verizon are working with Viggle to reach target audiences through interactive games, polls, videos and quizzes.

To make it easy to earn points Viggle works with live, recorded and online TV content starting with more than 150 channels, including USA Networks and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, with more joining daily. Time will tell whether this model catches on and gains the reach necessary to really make it successful. Shows with check-in bonuses are featured in the “What’s On” section of the app, where people can also set reminders and “like” shows. Viggle is being marketed through social channels and on the web.

For us Twitter users, Twitter discussions around the television shows, casts and crews are found in the “Chatter” section. I can also link Viggle to my Facebook and Twitter accounts or view unique footage and bonus offers. Function(x) said this was all part of helping build “second screens” for the network shows. Function(x) was founded in June 2010 to develop new business models and digital products and services that encourage consumers to engage with entertainment such as TV, movies, games and music.

So relax on the sofa, TV viewing may just be getting a little more rewarding.

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