Viggle on the 1st screen (Part 1)

May 6th, 2014 by Boris Kizelshteyn

Viggle is growing up. Over the past two years we’ve evolved from a standalone TV companion app that rewards people for checking into TV shows to an online ecosystem allowing them to earn points for every interaction with their beloved content; from setting reminders for and reading content related to their favorite shows before and after they watch. To achieve this, we expanded the Viggle experience beyond the smartphone and tablet to our Wetpaint and NextGuide brands on the web. But why stop there? With Connected TV sales on the rise and “cable” boxes becoming full fledged console systems, we’ve started dreaming up ways to reward Viggle users right on their 1st screen.

We’ve come a long way since 2011, when DIRECTV added the now defunct GetGlue to its social share menu. At that time, the entire firmware of the set top box had to be updated and pushed out to customers so they could get this one tiny feature. Today, DIRECTV, GoogleTV (which powers SONY), Samsung and LG have all embraced HTML5 as the application development standard of choice, making rich, dynamic applications that mashup data from across the web and mediate the live TV watching experience available for download onto the user’s 1st screen. This blog post rounds up some of the core implementation details behind these platforms as we evaluate them as candidates for the Viggle experience. Please note: While they constitute a significant market share, Roku, Xfinity and Fios are still holding out with bespoke developer frameworks, while Apple and Vizio are invitation only fortresses, so for now Viggle’s focusing on HTML5 as the platform of choice for developing our 1st screen vision. Focusing on open platforms has the added benefit of us being able to share how Viggle is thinking about this project and so this post is born.

The Viggle experience constitutes some or all of the following:

  • discovering new shows
  • consuming content related to the show before and after watching
  • consuming companion content while watching the show
  • all the while earning points
  • then redeeming them for rewards

As such our 1st screen application needs to, at minimum, identify the user, what they are watching and change the channel; all in a secure online environment. Stay tuned for Part 2 of Viggle on the 1st screen coming later this week when we’ll review how the different HTML5 platforms stack up.

Written by Boris Kizelshteyn

Boris is Senior Product Manager at Viggle. He loves TV, but because he loves his job and family even more, he can only follow one show at a time. Right now that’s Girls.