USA Network program rewards loyal viewers

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USA Network has launched a loyalty program called “Character Rewards.” The cable TV network's viewers can earn and redeem points for gift cards and show-branded merchandise through the Web.

USA is using e-mail, social media and TV ads to market the program, which was created by the network's in-house marketing team.

The debut of Character Rewards is being tied to the July 14 season premiere of the series Psych. The show's fans will be able to accrue points at by watching videos, playing games and reposting content to Facebook and Twitter. The website is scheduled to launch July 13.

This week, viewers will be able to redeem points for virtual Psych-related goods. Starting next week, they can spend use their points toward gift cards for major retailers or Psych T-shirts, mugs, bobbleheads and other items.

Character Rewards' goals include encouraging loyal fans to act as ambassadors for shows through Twitter and Facebook and to steer viewers to USA's website, said Jesse Redniss, the network's vice president of digital.

“Some users will come and watch a lot of the video or play some of the games but not really know how deep the overall site offerings can really be,” Redniss said. “So this is a way to really reel them in and tie them to a path in which they can go watch a video, then go play a game, then pick a trivia, participate in a chat, so they can really feel the 360-offering that USA can do across all the digital mediums.”

Redniss added that the network plans to extend the program to all of its series over the next year.

“We're using Psych to launch it,” he said. “The fans of Psych are so rabid. We've got over 600,000 Psych fans on Facebook alone. And they seem to be extremely interactive and they like this kind of content. So we're going to be rolling this out to pretty much all of our properties over the next 12 months.”

USA is spreading the word about Club Psych by e-mailing users in its database, as well as those in the databases of its sister NBC Universal networks. USA also is utilizing Facebook and Twitter.

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