Who Is Winning the TV Check-In War?


Services like GetGlue, Miso and Tunerfish have been competing head-to-head in recent months, with each trying to establish itself as a kind of Foursquare of the NewTeeVee world. Each follows a similar model, by trying to get their users to “check in” to a TV show in much the same way Foursquare users “check in” to a location. But we wanted to know which of these services is getting the most traction with end users, and we didn’t just want to rely on the preselected data points given out by the startups themselves to impress journalists and investors. Instead, we turned to Twitter.

All the popular check-in services allow and encourage their users to post check-ins to Twitter. Granted, not each and every user of these services makes that connection, but indicating your TV viewing behavior to your Twitter followers has become one of the main reasons to use these services. So we asked our friends at Trendrr to take a closer look at the number of times Miso, GetGlue and Tunerfish are referenced on Twitter.

As you can see, GetGlue is clearly leading the pack here, clocking significantly more check-ins than Miso. Tunerfish, which belongs to Comcast, hardly sees any activity at all anymore, despite relaunching twice last year.

One should keep in mind that this is data for all mentions of these services on Twitter, and GetGlue also allows its users to check into books, movies they watch in theaters and video games. However, a combined view of hourly check-in activity across the three services clearly shows that check-ins spike during prime time TV hours:

We also wanted to know who the users of these check-in services are. Turns out media check-in behavior is still very much limited to a few metropolitan areas: More than three-quarters of all check-ins tracked by Trendrr came from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Also worth mentioning: If you take look at the U.S. only, the San Francisco Bay Area ranks fourth, but worldwide, it’s not even in the top five. Fifty-six percent of all media check-in users are male, and 44 percent are female, according to Trendrr.

Finally, we have to put these numbers into perspective. Companies like GetGlue may hope to become Foursquare for your living room, but right now, the global water cooler conversation around TV is still squarely owned by Twitter. Consider this: Trendrr registered 632,000 tweets related to American Idol during a single week in April. Check-ins on Miso, GetGlue and Tunerfish combined only accounted for 2,896 of these tweets. Take a look at the daily combined activity of all three services on Twitter below:

Some of these startups seem to realize they have to offer more than just check-ins to close that gap. Miso CEO Somrat Niyogi told us in March that the future of social TV is not about the check-in, or the Forusquare-like badge, for that matter. “We don’t think badges and stickers are, in the long run, the reason that people come back,” he said.

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