A new app for iOS pays you to watch television. Viggle, released Wednesday on the App Store, is one of the first “loyalty programs,” as the company calls it, for TV.
Viggle works by using an iOS device’s microphone to hear what you’re watching, including both live and DVR-recorded shows. It then matches that waveform to a particular channel and show and credits you a certain number of “points” per minute for watching. Once a user has received 7,500 points they can exchange them for $5 gift certificates from retailers like Starbucks, Best Buy, and iTunes.
While only watching TV will take quite a while to achieve the 7,500 point threshold — it takes roughly 60 hours of continuous viewership to reach it — there are a multitude of other opportunities in which a user can receive “bonus” points. For example, certain shows and events will grant bonus points if watched live, and users can opt to watch additional ads on their iOS device for even more points.
As a bonus, once Viggle has determined what show the user is watching, it provides access to Twitter reactions to the show and the opportunity for users to comment directly to Twitter or Facebook.
The company and its advertising partners hope that by providing extra incentive for users to view particular shows that advertising revenue will increase and more direct-marketing opportunities will open up. Time will tell if this approach provides a nice bonus to users who would be watching TV regardless or if it will become simply a marketing gimmick that isn’t worth the trouble.
For now, Viggle is available for free from the App Store.