USA Network says it has upgraded the second-screen
experience it provides viewers by allowing fans of its shows to access custom
content, video, voting and polling and interact through third-party apps such
as Zeebox, NextGuide, Shazam and Viggle.
The new USA Sync got a tryout during last Wednesday's
telecast of the 100th episode of Psych. During the show, viewers were
able to vote to select the show's ending.
USA says nearly 40,000 fans found and engaged with Psych
content on Wednesday across different platforms during and after the 100th
episode. The network says fans spent more than 13 minutes on average in the app
of their choice.
We know it a fragmented world and you can't always get the
attention of all your fans to come back to one core destination," says
Jesse Redniss, senior VP of digital at USA Network. "So we really want to
push all of our great content experiences to wherever the fans are."
Syndicating the network's second-screen content "is
providing new avenues for consumer engagement, which is going to broaden new
avenues for monetization and ad partnerships. And that will drive more bottom-line
revenue across the board," says Redniss.
Dunkin' Donuts sponsored the voting during Wednesday's Psych
episode and its branding was part of the experience for users of the
"The second screen is really the place where brands and
advertisers are really seeing that engagement touch point. And now that we're
creating these rich experiences, it's a way that we can tie all these screens
together," says Redniss. He expects the second-screen apps to be a big
focus at USA's upfront ad sales presentation in May.
Using the new USA Sync, viewers can participate in voting
and polling. The can also play second-screen games tied to on-air content.
Their scores and the prizes they win can be shared with others via social
USA is using the Watchwith platform as a clearinghouse for
storing its content and distributing it to licensed partners.
Redniss says USA isn't yet charging second-screen apps to
license its content. "We'll work out the compensation schemes, whether
it's a rev share or what have you," he says. "Right now, this is
really trying to do a proof of concept to show that the consumers really want
this type of content. We want to really focus in on the actual consumer
experience and making sure that it's the best consumer experience possible
before we really start pushing the monetization angle."
USA Sync also enables social interactions, which drive live
viewing and expands the television viewing experience.
The network plans to have more apps engaged in time for the
premiere of its new series Graceland over the summer.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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