Ever since Howdy Doody showed up in the 1950′s, PR and marketing folks have wanted to know how many people are watching a particular TV show. This sets advertising rates, actor salaries, and a million other things. Most of this is based on the Nielsen ratings, which is possibly the most laughable measurement tool in the history of everything. Nielsen selects a certain amount of people to wire a box to their TV that sends data OVER A PHONE LINE or to keep a journal about what they’ve been watching. Seriously. Starting to understand why CBS cleans up in the ratings? They target older demographics since older demographics are the ones most likely to use a systems like Nielsen. Enter Viggle.
Viggle is an app for iPhone that is a combination of Get Glue and Shazam (or Soundhound). Essentially, Viggle listens to whatever show you’re watching live (or within 24 hours of broadcast), and then rewards you with points after checking in. You get one point for each minute of the show you watch plus any bonus points being awarded for that particular show. Those points can then be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, iTunes gift cards, a Kindle Fire, a MacBook Air, Gap and Old Navy gift cards…the list goes on.
I find this service a far more accurate depiction of television viewership. This is ratings by anyone with this app, not a pre-selected group of people that probably don’t accurate reflect the diversity of the viewing public. It’s really democracy at work in television ratings.
Full disclosure: Viggle did not ask me to write this, nor have I received any compensation for this article. If Viggle approaches me and asks me to use this article to help promote their service, I will sell out in a heartbeat. I have purchased some items through the Viggle rewards program and those transactions have gone very smoothly.