Why Viggle Will Change Television

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.

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  • Jholding

    This is a fine measurement as long as you don’t mind missing the habits and numbers of any groups that don’t have an iPhone or an app.

    • Matt LaCasse

      Valid point. Viggle was launched early this year, and is the case with many apps, starts in the Apple ecosystem. If it increases in popularity, I imagine it will move to Android as well. I could even see it becoming a standard app on TV’s in the future. 

      That said, even if ONLY people with iPhones are using Viggle, it’s still a much larger percentage of the population than what Nielsen utilizes, making it more accurate than current measurement systems.

      • This is a deep misconception. Accuracy doesn’t come solely from the size of the sample: it depends just as much on how *representative* the sample is. “People with iPhones” is not at all representative of the viewing population. Nor is “People with iPhones and Android phones” for that matter.

        • Matt LaCasse

          I understand your point.  However, as compared to the “representative” population using the Nielsen system at the moment, it’s far more representative.

          •  While I completely agree with your point about Nielsen, I don’t agree that it’s “far more representative” than Nielsen. Self-selected groups are far *less* representative, generally, than randomly selected groups.

            While I think this app is interesting, I don’t think it has any more validity in measuring who’s watching what than Nielsen does.

  • Christa Marzan

    I think Viggle has HUGE potential. The rewards part is one of the reasons why I started using Viggle and stopped using GetGlue. Great write up!

  • Does Viggle come in Android?

    • Matt LaCasse

      I don’t believe it does yet. I imagine that it will at some point though.

    • Tabbycattaylor

      it does, it is the beta version now, go to http://www.viggle.com for details 🙂

      • bf

         go to android.viggle.com to download it to android

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  • Anderstorms

    Great article, shared it on our Viggle facebook fan site:  facebook.com/viggleassistant.

    I also shared it with Viggle so maybe they will be contacting you… sell out.   😉

  • To me, the more interesting side is not the measurement component, but the engagement. For instance, they do a lot of “second screen” promotion: trivia games that play along in real-time with the program to award destination viewing. For advertiser fighting DVR’s, this is compelling.

  • Hap

    I’m a Viggler and I don’t want to cause an uprising of users, however, it isn’t really an accurate count of viewers since you only have to watch each show 10 min. to earn points. I always thought it was odd, but I’m not complaining since I’m doing quite well and will be scoring a much-needed item very soon.

  • Anonymous

    This:  “If Viggle approaches me and asks me to use this article to help promote their service, I will sell out in a heartbeat” is brilliant. And my new favorite app. And you might just be my favorite writer on this hack of a blog. Hahahahaha.

    Read more: Why Viggle Will Change Television | PRBreakfastClub https://prbreakfastclub.com/2012/05/23/why-viggle-will-change-television/#ixzz1vjncQzEy

  • I love that you said you would sell out in a heartbeat. Of course, it’s not really selling out if you believe, is it? Can’t wait to Viggle. 

  • Keatleylk

    While Viggle sounds interesting, a broader sample of people is needed for “accurate television viewership.”  Many Americans who watch TV do not own iPhones.