By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Imagine getting paid to watch TV. That’s what a new iPhone and iPad app promises its users. 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan has the news on the tube.
It may look like Sean Luxton and his son Charlie are simply watching TV.
“It’s cool to earn rewards for watching TV,” said Charlie.
You’ve heard of pay per view. This is more like get paid to view.
Sean explained, “You’re always watching TV. You always have your smart phone with you, and all you’re doing is, all Viggle is doing is knitting the two together.”
Here’s how Viggle works: You download the free Viggle app. You hold up your iPhone or iPad, and Viggle registers whatever program you’re watching.
Jason Reindorp, Viggle vice president of marketing, said, “Viggle is able to identify the show you’re watching, and it checks you in and you get points for that.
“You have loyalty programs for taking trips on planes, for renting cars, but think of all the time that you watch TV. Why shouldn’t you get rewarded for that?” Reindorp said.
You can earn even more points by playing games and taking quizzes. The points then earn you gift cards to Starbucks, fast food restaurants, department stores, movie tickets, or you can elect to donate to a favorite charity.
The list of shows that reward you for your couch potato status seems endless
“What we are able to see is patterns in the way that people are checking into shows,” said Reindorp. “All of this really helps the advertisers that we we work with (to) target appropriate advertising to the individual.”
Is this a violation of privacy?
“We are super, super focused on making sure that no personal information is gathered or shared in any way,” said Reindorp.
Viggle users earned points for watching the Grammy awards, although it might have been too popular. Some people on Viggle’s Facebook page complained the servers crashed. Viggle says it will help people restore lost points.
When you accrue enough points, you select which gift card you want, and Viggle sends it to you in the mail. An Android version is in the works.
For now, Viggle requires an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.