Getglue and Viggle Merger - to Combat zeebox?

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Viggle has been in serious trouble for about six months - that much I have heard through the grapevine - leaking cash like a sieve and burning money at rate that, in an era of 'lean startups' really does no good for the entire emerging sector.

Ryan Lawler at Techcrunch writes:

...4.5 million between Viggle and GetGlue. But what really matter are active users, as pointed out on AllThingsD. On that front, the combination doesn’t look nearly as good: Viggle CEO Robert Sillerman told AllThingsD that the two have about 1.5 million altogether. And that’s the problem with today’s Social TV apps: It’s difficult to get either broadcasters or advertisers to care about a couple million users here or there. Maybe that will change if one hits critical mass.

With such a tiny active userbase and such large numbers being bantered around... only in America? These kinds of startups would never get funded in the tens of millions in Europe - which is partly why most European Social TV startups are in the B2B realm - because they have had to out of necessity. And experience gleaned by zeebox in basically forcing UK broadcasters to the table via a game-changing and pretty tough bSkyb deal gave them the traction and experience to move into the US and do deals such as:

  1. In an unprecedented alliance zeebox has teamed up with Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, HBO & Cinemax are all teaming with zeebox in a first-of-its-kind endorsement of a universal, cross-channel TV viewing companion app for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, and the Web.
  2. zeebox Extends Industry Momentum; Forms Strategic Partnership with Viacom

Cory Bergman at Lost Remote also sees the significance in a similar light:

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.

Twitter showing interest is just the tip - Google is also heading that way and watch out for Facebook... if they make a move into this space - it could be a game changer.

This is only the first of perhaps many mergers, acquisitions and buyouts we will see over the next year. Companies like Movl, Ex Machina Games, Miso, and others with USPs and a long pedigree in the social TV space are certainly ones to watch.


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