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Oscars 2012: Miso, GetGlue and Other Social TV Apps Take Aim (Updated)

These app creators think Oscar viewers will want to watch more than just ”The Artist“ victory parade

The 84th Academy Awards will be taking place not just on your television, but on your iPads, Droids and Macbooks.

Research shows that the majority of people with smartphones or tablets use them while watching TV.

Read more: 2012 Oscars: Complete List of Nominees

Numerous companies that produce “second screen” apps – applications that one uses on those devices while tuning in – have picked this years Oscars as an opportunity to promote their brand and attract new users.

Some are posing trivia challenges while others feature red carpet photos, and many are offering special prizes.

Read more: Oscars 2012: Billy Crystal's Back and 'The Artist' Could Make History

But they are all hoping users want a more engaging Oscars broadcast, enhanced by this extra content and by social media.

Sunday night’s awards cap off a sequence of big events – from the Super Bowl to the Grammys – with which the likes of Shazam, Miso, GetGlue and others have tried to establish themselves as the go-to companion to your television experience.

Time will tell which companies win out, but here is what some of them are doing:


What it is: Owned by Function (X), a company founded by entrepreneur Bob Sillerman (think Clear Channel and Live Nation), Viggle is a loyalty program for television. Viewers “check-in” while watching a certain show using the app and get points that go towards various rewards, like a Starbucks gift card or movie tickets.

Oscars: Viggle has partnered with Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, to offer live polls, quizzes and trivia questions specific to the show. Correct answers will earn the user points, which go towards prizes. This particular experience will make use of technology from Loyalize, a company Viggle bought last week.

Possible surprise: Jason Reindorp, VP of Marketing for Viggle, said there might be a special partnership with Ryan Seacrest tonight. Sillerman has a relationship with the popular TV personality because his old company, CKX, held the global rights for American Idol.


What it is: IntoNow, founded by Adam Cahan and now owned by Yahoo, uses audio recognition software to pick out what someone is watching and provide all kinds of extra information related to the show. It also highlights the social media chatter around a show.

Oscars: Users can give Red Carpet looks a thumbs up or thumbs down, get information about the nominees, take polls for the various categories and pick the winners. It will also help users talk with one another and see what everyone on Twitter and Facebook is taking about at the same time.

Prediction: Yahoo’s scientists give “The Artist” almost a 90 percent chance of winning. What’s that extra 10 percent for?


What it is: A startup founded by Alex Iskold with financial backing from Union Square Ventures, RRE Ventures and Time Warner Cable. Again, users “check-in” to a show, but this time you get stickers instead of points. Like “True Blood”? You check in and at first you get a digital sticker. Get enough digital stickers and you can get a real sticker or a discount to the network store. GetGlue works with 75 major networks and has more than 2 million users.

Oscars: GetGlue has partnered with ABC to award people before Sunday and on the day of the telecast. You can get stickers for checking into the nominated films, checking in to the red carpet or watching Jimmy Kimmel’s show.

A note from Kimber Myers, Director of Partnerships: “Last year’s Oscars  was the record holder for the top event on GetGlue. It was surpassed a number of times in the past year, whether by “True Blood” or “Walking Dead” or the Super Bowl, but we do expect this weekend to be a big one.”


What it is: A startup founded by Somrat Niyogi and Tim Lee, backed by prominent Silicon Valley investors Kholsa Ventures, Google Ventures and Hearst Interactive Media. It began as a “check-in” and rewards app like GetGlue, but has since moved towards offering “SideShows” — curated, unique content related to each show. There’s the standard stuff – information on guest stars, trivia and quotes. But there’s also the opportunity for much more because anyone can publish a second screen experience on the Miso platform. Want a drinking game with “Mad Men”? You can make it. Love “Beavis and Butthead”? Imagine them providing commentary on “How I Met Your Mother.” 

Oscars: Miso will offer its first live SideShow as part of a partnership with Hyundai. Users can access special videos and music and take polls while watching the show. They can also qualify for a “sponsored badge” for their profile.

Niyogi on Miso: “The opening publishing platform allows real flexibility. It’s like word press or Tumblr for social television. We’re still trying to figure out what content matters to you, so you can explore.”


What it is: A startup founded by TV technology veterans Scott Rosenberg and Bryan Slavin, Umami is backed by NEA, Battery Ventures and angel investors. It aims to be the “ultimate TV companion,” providing everything from cast member biographies to trivia to special photos. Umami uses audio recognition software to recognize exactly where a user is in any given show, and then provide personalized information related to that show.

Oscars: Umami is debuting “Freeze Frame’ for the Oscars, a feature that lets users capture images from the shows they are watching and then share it on Facebook or Twitter. The company compares it to Pinterest for shows, letting users share images of moments, actors products and so on. Umami is also announcing “Dashboard,” a social dashboard that shows how many people are talking about a show and identifies popular links and Tweets.

Rosenberg on Umami’s Oscars update: “We make it really dirt simple to get into the app and answer 80 percent of the questions consumers have about a show —  who is that actress, what’s the latest gossip, show me some photos.

Correction: In the previous version of this article, the header for the "Viggle" section misspelled the company's name as Viggie. It also referred to the company Viggle recently acquired, Loyalize, as Localize.

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