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GSN Is Dialing for Viewers

GSN, which has been experimenting with mobile interactivity with its late-night game block Playmania, will extend the use of cellular phones to its promotion push for two new game shows: Chain Reaction and Starface, which debut Aug. 1.

Ads containing tune-in information and a game board will appear in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Magazine, Parade, People, Us and the National Enquirer. Potential players will use their cell phones to submit an answer and compete for a $5,000 daily prize, or consumers can also use their phones to play along as the games are telecast.

Online, banner ads will appear on the Yahoo! and AOL portals, as well as E! Online and TV Guide sites.

Dena Kaplan, senior vice president of marketing for the network, said the strategy is designed to drive viewership, as well as reinforce GSN’s branding as the place for interactive games.

Also, once a consumer answers a question via text message, the network has an opportunity to get them to opt in for further entries, pushed to their cell phones daily. Those pushes will also contain tune-in information.

GSN’s use of mobile entries already has been successful during Playmania, scheduled after 1 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There, contestants can answer quiz questions and have a chance to interact on the air with the hosts. Kaplan would not give a specific usage figure, other than to say the blocks get “tens of thousands of entries” for each telecast.

Cell phones are ubiquitous, and their owners are familiar with text messaging, so marketing via the devices was the next logical step for the network, according to Kaplan.

To interest affiliates in information about the new shows, the mobile marketing campaign was also extended to trade publications. For instance, ads in Multichannel News and TelevisionWeek beginning July 17, solicited readers to send via text message the answer to the question: “Which of the following networks has the highest total day ratings?”

Respondents have a chance to win a 60-inch flat-screen Sony TV. (Read the fine print, though. Only cable and satellite system employees older than 18 may participate.)