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Here comes the social-TV consolidation

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On Monday Viggle announced it is going to buy GetGlue. Since this is the second deal within a span of two weeks in the social-TV space, there’s little doubt that we’ve entered the consolidation phase of the market.

GetGlue is what I would consider a social TV 1.0 company, in that its initial focus was on the check-in. And while it has tried to diversify this year with the release of a social EPG, it was the company’s user base (about 3 million total and about 1.5 million in active users) that Viggle saw value in.

Viggle believes that if it can get near 5 million users, it can start to impact ratings, particularly around cable shows. I’m a bit skeptical about that, but I do think there is real value in GetGlue’s user data (it claims 500 million data points), an area that could be a potential monetization path for Viggle.

In fact, the real market for social TV for the next few years — unless you own one of the big platforms in social or TV — is around data. Nielsen believes this too, having just beefed up its social-TV measurement capabilities, while others like BlueFin and Trendrr appear to be getting real traction both on the network and advertiser side. GetGlue already works with BlueFin Labs and others in providing consumer-usage data, so it would be a natural fit to extend this business further and possibly even offer its own analytics service.

Bottom line: Buckle up, as I expect more deals like this in coming months, where either large players (like Nielsen) plug holes or smaller players combine forces in efforts to scale up community size and market share.

If you’re interested, you can listen to my chat with Viggle President Jim Consiglio about why the company did the deal.