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FremantleMedia has launched a Take Me Out app that monetises the ITV dating show through the sale of virtual currency.
Take Me Out Flirting is a free app and website that acts as a chatroom and forum for fans of the show.
It is available on iOS, Android, mobile web and web platforms, and is set to launch on Blackberry and Ovi soon.
Users can also access premium content by purchasing credits.
This includes sending gifts, promoting your profile to the ‘Fernandos VIP’ flirting wall and selecting catchphrases from the show’s host to be delivered to other users.
The credits can bought using a bankcard, or charged to a user's phone bill.
Handmade Mobile designed the app to monetise the show's online fanbase, which includes over 1m Facebook fans and 20,000 Twitter followers.
Despite only launching on Tuesday, the site has had more than 12,000 users logged in today. It seems that this generates buzz and audience engagement, while also creating a new revenue stream for FremantleMedia.
The market for virtual currency is predicted to grow to $4.8bn by 2016 and other industries have been moving swiftly to take advantage of it.
Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts today signed up to a new loyalty scheme run by Plink where customers earn Facebook Credits in return for in-store purchases.
Engaging TV audiences online is nothing new – viewers can play along with Channel 4’s Million Pound Drop Live and ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - but selling virtual currency to viewers is less common.
Channel 4 has announced a new series of The Bank Job which recruits its contestants through an online quiz game. More than 100,000 people signed up to play the free quiz for the first series, creating a huge amount of audience data to leverage with advertisers.
There could be an opportunity to monetise the game when the second series of The Bank Job starts, either through the sale of badges and rewards or by charging to access new levels.
The likelihood is that we will see more of these kind of apps launch as connected TV sets become more common in homes around the UK.
When users are able to download apps directly via their TV set, viewers will also be able to discuss the show – and buy virtual currency – without the need of a mobile or desktop. Whether they choose to do that is yet to be seen; most people still prefer the ease and familiarity of holding a smaller second device in their hands than fiddle with a remote control.