GetGlue, a check-in service for watching TV programs or listening to music, has signed its first publishing partnership with Time (NYSE: TWX) Inc.’s Entertainment Weekly. The arrangement comes a week after the Oscars broadcast, which GetGlue says its check-ins that night reached 16 million users across Facebook and Twitter.
EW hopes that by tying its features to GetGlue’s growing user base, it can drive more traffic to its site as well, given the natural affinity between the two for obsessive consumers of entertainment content.
“Mercedes was a sponsor of both the Oscars broadcast and of our check-ins that night,” said CEO Alex Iskold in an interview with paidContent. “They were our first really big sponsor and for a live broadcast, you can’t really ask for a better promotion than having Facebook and Twitter users reminding their friends and followers about it.”
GetGlue operates like Foursquare. But where Foursquare users get badges for checking-in to restaurants and venues, GetGlue members get “stickers” for announcing that they’ve started watching a show or are listing to a particular song.
With EW, GetGlue users will get a badge when they check-in to the items featured on its “Must List” to earn unique fan stickers, and then share with friends through Twitter and Facebook. Checking-in for consecutive weeks will unlock additional stickers. Each sticker will feature a set of unique rewards — ‘Must See Movie List,’ ‘Best Characters of the last 20 Years’, etc. — hand picked by EW’s editors for GetGlue fans.
For example, GetGlue is about to launch a sticker for NBC (NSDQ: CMCSA) Universal’s Celebrity Apprentice, which will morph into the one of the show’s participants the day after they “get fired.” Meanwhile, Iskold is working on a set of metrics that he says will offer proof that GetGlue’s stickers and interactions can lift ratings.
Social media in general has produced a lot of excitement from marketers and publishers. But being able to connect with consumers in an organized, substantive way has largely been viewed as ineffective. The biggest hurdle companies have worked to overcome is getting people to opt-in to their messages, as opposed to the traditional way of simply bombarding consumers with general messages.
As last week’s acquisition of “online TV guide” Clicker by CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) shows — a deal that could be worth more than $100 million, according to paidContent sources — the ability to directly connect with users individually, through their social graph is considered valuable since friends are generally better at “targeting” ads to people they already know well.
“If you’re watching TV, an ad is interrupting you and the content, plus it’s a one-way message,” notes Richard Yaffa, CEO of Media Ventures Group. “But what GetGlue and others in that ‘check-in’ space are doing is engagement plain and simple, because it’s about an exchange among a community. For a brand, if you can become become a part of the conversation a community is having, it can be very powerful.”
With the awards season over, GetGlue is now looking to spring training and March Madness for its next steps. “We’re talking with all major sports leagues and we expect to announce some more deals in the next few weeks,” Iskold said.