TV Networks Use Social Media to Drive Loyalty


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Will the next wave of loyalty programs be television frequent-viewer programs? Perhaps.

According to a DM News article, several television networks are now using social media and their websites to create rewards programs for viewers. NBC, ABC Family and USA Network have launched such programs since May.

All three networks have similar goals – to steer traffic to their websites and to encourage fans to post content about their favorite shows on social media portals.

Jesse Redniss, Digital Vice President at USA Network, launched a rewards initiative for its Psych program last month citing the viral aspect of Twitter and Facebook in syndicating and reposting content as a way to create brand ambassadors.

In May, NBC launched its “Fan It” program, which rewards viewers who earn points by discussing shows on Facebook and Twitter or by commenting on articles on Consumers can win a walk-on role in the upcoming network series The Event, Emmy Awards red-carpet bleacher tickets and autographed items from shows. The “Fan It” tagline is: Like Our Shows. Earn Points. Get Rewards.

ABC Family created a loyalty program in June for the series Pretty Little Liars (which also has an iPhone app.) Participants can earn points by:

* Watching Pretty Little Liars video clips and episodes
* Sharing your thoughts on the Pretty Little Liars mystery in the blogs and message boards
* Sharing cool blogs using the “Share” button to a social network provider like Facebook or Twitter. (once only)
* Watching video clips and episodes and sharing them with friends on a social network provider like Facebook or Twitter (unlimited)
* Earning items for your Trophy Case by completing challenges

Points can be redeemed for virtual goods or access to exclusive videos, photos and other content.

USA’s “Character Rewards” program allows Psych fans to win show-branded merchandise and gift cards in exchange for viewing online content or reposting items to Facebook and Twitter. The network is planning to extend the program to all of its series over the next year. USA also raised awareness of the initiative by e-mailing consumers in its database, as well as the databases of its sister NBC Universal networks, and by using Facebook and Twitter.

The concept isn’t entirely new. The Big Ten Network, the sports TV channel run by the collegiate athletic league of the same name, has rewarded participants of its “Superfans” program since 2007 for watching online videos and playing games.

Jill Z. McBride
Jill founded JZMcBride & Associates in 1996 to provide marketing, public relations, social media and event planning services and consultation. More than a decade later, the firm serves an impressive roster of consumer, business-to-business and non-profit clients. Jill's contagious energy, personal involvement and extensive industry knowledge infuses every endeavor of the group in order to help her clients grow.


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