I don’t know why I bother testing apps on their launch day — it never ends well. But because I was rooting for new app Viggle to succeed, I gave the app for iPhone and iPod Touch a Day 2 chance. This move was purely selfish. You see, working from home, I watch a lot of TV. Like, a lot a lot. That said, Viggle, which rewards its users with points every time they “check in” to watching a TV show, is probably going to be my favorite app soon — at least if I’m watching TV in real time.
Those points aren’t just to help me become the No. 1 Viggle watcher (does this even exist? It probably should), no, they’re redeemable for gift cards from popular merchants such as Amazon, Starbucks, Sephora and Gap. Or you can use your couch potato time to raise money for some of Viggle’s featured charities. Your call.
Viggle obviously requires an account and some personal information, but nothing terribly out of the ordinary. When you check in to a show, Viggle uses audio match to confirm a digital thumbprint. If you watch the episode — meaning you don’t check into another program for at least 10 minutes — you’ll get some points for your effort. On Day 1, audio match was virtually impossible to use because of increased traffic, server issues and limited archive materials (affecting DVR users in particular). However, my experience on Day 2 was significantly different. When watching a live show, the audio matched with no problem. Of course, failure is still possible. If you’re watching a live show and audio match fails twice you’ll be able to manually check in. This option is not available on recorded programming, presumably to keep people from gaming the system. I still experienced difficulty in matching programs I'd recorded on Viggle’s launch day, but I’m choosing to remain optimistic that this will get better as I already saw marked improvement with real-time TV. Right now, points are easy to come by — you get a sign-up bonus, and if a show is featured you’ll get extra credit — so depending on your viewing habits, rewards could be coming to you very soon.
If you already watch television, you might as well be incentivized while you’re at it. I’d guess Viggle is sharing its data with its gift-card sponsors, so a big, active user base probably will keep those rewards worthwhile.