Social media plays devoted to TV and other entertainment have found another ally in Entertainment Weekly, which is encouraging readers to use the GetGlue service to "check in" to the shows, movies, music and books it recommends in its weekly Must List column.
The move by Time Inc.'s EW closely follows a similar partnership between TV Guide magazine and Philo, which describes itself as Foursquare for TV. But GetGlue, Philo and others are trying to achieve social media traction in a landscape dominated by platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Facebook says it has more than 500 million active users, half of which visit its site on any given day; GetGlue says it has registered more than 900,000 users, generating about 100,000 check-ins per day.
TVGuide.com, as a matter of fact, introduced a check-in feature last fall that uses basic Facebook technology to let visitors to the site click a button to broadcast on social networks what they're watching, or plan to watch, on TV. TVGuide.com and TV Guide magazine are owned by different companies but work together in many areas.
GetGlue is "tiny" compared to Facebook and Twitter, acknowledged Alex Iskold, founder and CEO of GetGlue. "It's an open question whether we're going to get to the kind of scale that those services have," he said. "But there's a couple of things that are apparent to us. No. 1, entertainment is an amazing thing to socialize about; whether it's a movie or book, it's a human need to have a conversation about it and share. The second thing is I strongly believe in specialization.
Since last month a new TV Guide column has been encouraging readers to use Philo to check in to certain programs. Checking in unlocks a virtual "Too Hot for TV" badge and entry into a sweepstakes with prizes like a trip to TV Guide's annual Hot List Party in Los Angeles. The programs include "Amazing Race: Unfinished Business," "CSI" and "Justified."
Entertainment Weekly will reward people who use GetGlue to check in to Must List recommendations with virtual stickers, which will deliver editorial bonuses such as a "Must See Movie List," as well as real-life stickers deliverable through the mail. The magazine will tout GetGlue in print and online.
"It has been very apparent to us that our EW consumer loves social media and uses it as a mechanism to filter their entertainment choices," said Jason Wagenheim, who was named publisher of Entertainment Weekly in December following the unexpected departure of Ray Chelstowski in November. "The natural next step for us was to find the leader in social entertainment and create yet another platform for EW to connect to its audience."
GetGlue's business model remains under development, Mr. Iskold said. "We're still venture-backed and in growth mode," he said. But Mercedes sponsored virtual stickers that GetGlue users unlocked by checking in to last month's Academy Awards, so that could be a growing approach going forward.
And GetGlue hopes its data on consumers' entertainment choices could become lucrative as well. "Those analytics are very, very interesting to marketers," Mr. Iskold said. "It's something Nielsen is doing for a while but ours is getting to a scale that is becoming very interesting."
GetGlue has not worked with a magazine before but hopes to announce further partnerships with magazines, and newspapers as well, later this year.