Back in November, second screen newbie announced its intentions to acquire front runner GetGlue. I was surprised because, in this particular space, it’s like announcing a merger between Facebook and Twitter. Both services do fundamentally the same thing but they each have their own special twist and loyal fans. A merger might have been spectacular but more likely it would have resulted n the end of GetGlue’s unique badge reward system.
This morning, GetGlue announced that they’ve called off the wedding.
Today we’ve decided that GetGlue will not be merging with Viggle. The two companies remain friendly and think highly of each other.
We are moving forward as an independent company, and all of us at GetGlue are excited about growing our social network and the leadership position on the second screen. We have a strong product and partnership pipeline for 2013, and look forward to delighting our users and expanding the relationships with major networks, studios and brands.
GetGlue is a widely recognized brand and a product that is loved by millions of people. We have a passionate community of over 3.5M television fans who use the service to discuss the content they love and discover new content to watch. Over 75 major networks and studios are routinely promoting their content to our fans, and major brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Intel, Gap, and Mercedes have sponsored advertising campaigns on our service.
Wow, does that sound like a gritted teeth break-up letter or what? We’ll remain friendly and we still think highly of each other?
Sources say that the break-up was about money (isn’t it always). Viggle is burning through cash like a gold digger with a new sugar daddy. Perhaps this is why they’ve added the horrendous affiliate deals to their points program. You know the ones; subscribe to a magazine, join Netflix, get a free credit report. . . . You get points for your efforts and they get an affiliate kickback. It cheapens the experience and I’m very surprised that Viggle is stooping to selling magazines in order to bolster their revenue. I’m not knocking the affiliate concept or any of the parties involved, but if Viggle can’t survive selling second screen advertising then the experiment is a failure, period.
Viggle’s public response was typical of the burned party – short and dripping with false sincerity.
The merger agreement between Viggle Inc. (Symbol: VGGL), the popular television loyalty service, and GetGlue, the leading social TV application, has been terminated, Robert F.X. Sillerman, Executive Chairman and CEO of Viggle announced today.
“During the time we started talking to GetGlue about an acquisition and since the merger agreement was signed in November, we have seen impressive growth in our business,” Sillerman said. “We are pleased with this positive momentum.” He added that the termination of the agreement was cordial. “We wish GetGlue and Alex all the best.”
Then, they added a new post to their blog saying that January 13 was their single busiest day ever “with nearly 870,000 verified audio check-ins.” Again, I say wow. Taylor Swift could turn this into her next big hit. “I loved you but now I’m better off without you.”
The real losers in this deal are the friends of both parties. When a couple breaks up they always say you can still be friends with both of them, but it never works. Viggle, with their real-time trivia games are already making it hard for me to visit GetGlue on the same day and I’ll bet GetGlue has a few new tricks up their sleeves.
I guess, going forward, I’m going to have to decide where my loyalty lies but what I really want are my virtual badges and my points, too.