‘Social TV’ has been a buzzword for a couple of years, but none of the startups pushing the idea have yet made the impact that humble old multi-purpose Twitter has in the field of helping people gather online for real-time discussion around television broadcasts.

Now one of the best known names in social TV, GetGlue is launching a new version of its iPhone app that moves beyond simply sharing what you’re watching and into the realms of a full-on television guide. There’s also an important monetizaton drive in the form of promoted content entries.

The headline new feature of the app is a reworked feed that combines updates from friends and shows. In addition to showing friends’ viewing activity, there are video clips, photos and recaps from users’ favorite shows. Meanwhile, a new guide shows upcoming (US) TV shows that you’re likely to be interested in, live sports scores, movie theater listings and more. There are now also new individual show pages, with clips, images, and recaps, and the ability to see which of your Facebook friends also like the same shows as you without leaving GetGlue.

GetGlue Feed 220x330 GetGlue gives its iPhone app more TV show content and promoted posts, plans remote control features    GetGlue Guide 220x330 GetGlue gives its iPhone app more TV show content and promoted posts, plans remote control features

In order to monetize the app, promoted entries allow advertisers to post a message, photo, or video, visible to a target audience defined by their taste in television. This feature was first introduced during last Sunday’s Super Bowl, where Pepsi promoted a video in the lead up to the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show. Fans received a sticker in GetGlue for checking in. The startup says that during halftime, over 15% of all tweets about Pepsi came from its app, while it was also the second-biggest source of tweets about Pepsi, beaten only by Twitter’s official iPhone app.

For those who enjoy the gamified side of GetGlue, the startup is now expanding its offer to send out physical versions of stickers earned in the app. Users can now choose which stickers they receive and these will now be available outside of the US for the first time. As a kind of referral program, users who persuade their friends to join GetGlue will be able to unlock past stickers for delivery and get free shipping.

GetGlue Show 220x330 GetGlue gives its iPhone app more TV show content and promoted posts, plans remote control features    GetGlue Stickers 220x330 GetGlue gives its iPhone app more TV show content and promoted posts, plans remote control features

The question remains as to whether any players in the social TV app space can usurp Twitter as the go-to place for social TV. Through moves like its partnership with Nielsen and its acquisition of Bluefin, Twitter is attempting to assert itself as the ‘official’ source of social TV data in the US.

GetGlue CEO, Alex Iskold tells me “While it certainly has the scale, (Twitter is) not exclusively focused on TV, but GetGlue is. We are seeing wonderful engagement week over week from passionate TV fans who come to engage around their favorite shows.” Iskold says that the company’s three product themes for 2013 are more content on the second screen, integration of online video and originals from Hulu, Netflix, and the like, and building in native DVR and remote control capabilities.

DVR and remote control capabilities are important, strategically. Whoever builds the most compelling ‘social remote control’ app will probably have the best chance of hanging on to users in the long run. This is a tactic also being employed by rival app Zeebox.

The updated GetGlue iPhone app is a free download and available now.

➤ GetGlue for iPhone 

Image credit: Flashfilm / Thinkstock

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