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Why gamification is the future of social TV

Originally published on by Zack Dugow, founder and CEO of 

As self-proclaimed TV fanatics, we often find ourselves getting way more involved with the lives of our favorite TV show characters than might be considered healthy. Thanks to the latest trend in social TV, all those marathons of Homeland and Game of Thrones are starting to look like they might finally pay off. Social TV gamification – incorporating game thinking and mechanics into the social TV experience – has been around for a few years, but it’s seen a lot of growth in the last few months as users seek a deeper level of engagement with their favorite shows through platforms like Viggle and GetGlue, rewards apps, and Insticator, the platform I launched, a responsive web-based platform that rewards users simply for predicting show outcomes. 

While we’re all used to the check-in based apps, the gamified social TV platforms are giving fans a deeper level of interaction through earned, real-life prizes for users. Networks having been leaning on new gamification offerings in the last year as well, as seen by shows like Dexter and The Walking Dead, which both feature web-based companion content in the form of games.  So what does this mean for the future of social TV?

For one, you can expect audiences to have a greater say in what happens in television. Where live ratings and viewership once solely dictated how well a program performs, today it’s tweets, DVR recordings and social media buzz that are now playing a bigger role– all of which are a result of more audience dedication

You can also expect to see more gamified content from networks and third parties alike. Both are banking on the idea that audiences do indeed want a bigger role in helping shape their favorite shows, or at the very least, want to have a chance to get more out of them. A system that rewards viewers for engaging even further with their favorite shows is a win for everyone. 


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