By Andy Batkin – Founder and Publisher, Social TV Daily
Things move fast in Social TV.
In July of 2011 when we organized the first Social TV Summit in Los Angeles, there were just 15 technology solution providers in the Social TV space….now there are over 120 competitors.
GetGlue and their CEO Alex Iskold were the ones the everyone talked about and that they had “a head start on all.”
Viggle wasn’t a “brand” yet as Chris Stephenson and Greg Consigilo were “under the radar” and attended the summit, representing Function(X), a company founded by Bob Sillerman.
Fast forward just 16 months, and Viggle last week announced that it will acquire GetGlue just one week after the two companies sat at the same podium together at our 5th Social TV Summit in New York in a session entitled: Engagement, Reach and Brand Effectiveness….What Will Happen When Scale Catches Up With the Proven Effectiveness of Social TV Applications? How Do We Build Reach for Brands? …. Large Social TV Platforms Discuss How to Build the Social TV Audience.
Well, I guess they have answered the questions as Social TV has its first “mega merger” (with apologies to Social Guide and Nielsen). I think the combination of the two platforms is great for both of the companies as well as for marketers. Wall Street investors seem to agree as well as the stock price for Viggle has gone up almost 100 percent since the announcement that Viggle and GetGlue will merge. Not a small task since the deal is dependent on Viggle closing a $60 million strategic investment and will be using 48 million of its shares (along with $25 million in cash) to acquire GetGlue.
Anyone who knows of Bob Sillerman’s track record in deal making should have no doubt that this deal will close.
So why is this a good deal for Social TV?
To me it shows the beginning of a consolidation of great technologies, services and talent that will enable the engagement, scale and reach that marketers need to budget for Social TV spend…..in fact this deal will enable the two companies to reach almost 5 million registered users, a number that is sure to grow very fast.
In addition the combination of discovery and loyalty make the new company a powerhouse that will provide a great platform for users and solutions for advertisers…..and don’t forget the data. The realtime analysis of user data will help to build more quickly, even better applications and solutions moving forward.
We all know how important mobile is to Social TV…..everyone has their smartphone nearby when watching TV and both players have vigorous apps that work across iphone, Android, etc. Expect BIG things here in mobile.
I asked Greg Consigilo, President of Viggle and Alex Iskold, founder/CEO of GetGlue: Why is this deal going to be good for Viggle and GetGlue?
Greg Consiglio: “We found there is not much overlap between our user bases and our products are very complimentary. GetGlue has been working in this space for longer than we have, so leveraging that experience will be great. We have created an ad model for networks and brands that is resonating in the market. Scale is everything and we will be approaching the kind of scale that TV Networks have been looking for from the Social TV space.”
Alex Iskold: “Viggle and GetGlue joined forces to create the leader in Social TV. The Companies have developed complimentary products – GetGlue focused on discovery and community, while Viggle focused on audio tagging, rewards and deeper second screen experiences like ViggleLive and MyGuy. The combined offering is engaging for consumers and at the same time increases the reach for networks and brands. The Social TV space needs to prove that it is big and important and scale to be interesting to large advertisers. The Viggle / GetGlue combination is creating such scale.”
And why is this good for the whole Social TV space?
Greg Consiglio: “We think this move will help grow the overall category. More scale means more engagement by brand advertisers but will also allow companies both large and small to benefit from our audience reach. We have opened our platform and made our APIs available so that anyone, from networks to start-ups can build experiences within the Viggle platform. With a larger scale aggregated audience we can become an ideal platform upon which all kinds of TV related experiences can to be built. “
Alex Iskold: “Likely, this merger is going to have positive effect on the entire Social TV ecosystem, because brands will start spending serious money on the second screen. This will impact smaller companies, networks, analytics players, and will lead to innovation and competition in 2013.”
This deal will wake up sleeping investors who will start to see how large the Social TV space will become. The combination of Digital and TV spend is sure to grow as brands see the value of “syncing” their branded ads on the “big screen” with direct response offers on the second screen. Look for other mergers and acquisitions in Social TV as the smaller technology solution providers that might have best of breed solutions will realize that they must be bigger to attract the revenues that will be need for investors to be interested and to prosper in the long run.
I congratulate GetGlue and Viggle. This is great for Social TV.
Read Social TV Daily for more deal announcements that are sure to come.
Andy Batkin is the founder and publisher of Social TV Daily