USA Network is turning to a Mouse to unite its characters-at
least as far as social media is concerned.
The network is working with new technology company
RebelMouse, which has come up with the tools to make it easier for a company to
curate all of its social media activity on a single central Web page.
USA's new page, Character Collage, should also make it
easier for viewers to find content the network creates for social media. And
USA should be able to gather its social media followers more quickly, creating
an attractive venue for advertisers.
Networks have been using social networks such as Twitter and
Facebook to engage fans with original content. "With RebelMouse, we're able to
aggregate all of that social content back together into a very sticky
environment," says Jesse Redniss, USA senior VP, digital. "When you think about
what RebelMouse is doing here, it's really putting together the entire choir of
all the different voices of what USA's social concert is all about."
At the same time, RebelMouse is assembling social graphics
that put together insights about who is on the various pages, what pieces of
content people are engaging with and who their followers are. "We can tap into
that to look out into the influencers and the popular zeitgeist to make this
platform into a richer and more targeted environment," Redniss says.
In addition to "amplifying and centralizing" all of a
company's social efforts, RebelMouse CEO Paul Berry says his company has
created an algorithm that keeps the content most important to the network at
the top of the page. "The ordering of stories is essential, and reverse
[chronology], which is the default for blogs, is not right. And 'most popular'
is also not right," Berry says. The algorithm helps the site reflect the
company's voice. "You may know the most important thing right now is that there's
a premiere tonight and that's the big story, and you make that the top spot."
Berry says RebelMouse plans to keep its pricing low so that
many sites will choose the new publishing platform. USA is the first TV
entertainment company to tap into RebelMouse, but it has about 200,000 sites
online, getting more than 1 million page views. Berry says big companies such
as IBM and GE are among those that have signed up. "People are seeing
immediately the amount of work they don't have to do anymore to be able to
launch really awesome sites that are social by their foundation," he says.
USA expects to integrate advertisers into the site rather
than selling banners or other traditional ad units.
Redniss says USA doesn't want the Characters Collage site to
get cluttered with ads. "The ads become part of the content flow," he says.
"We've seen it resonate in the marketplace. When you do that with your brand
partners, it has a lot more impact and engagement with users rather than
slapping a banner in certain areas. It's providing them a way to become part of
USA has begun to generate significant amounts of revenue by
integrating sponsors including Lexus, Ford and Capital One into digital and
social extensions of its programming. "When you can attract 3-4 million people
to an experience that keeps them engaged for two or three hours at a time, I
think a ton of brand sponsors are very interested in becoming associated with
that," Redniss says.
USA is part of NBCUniversal, whose other cable networks have
been increasingly working with Zeebox, a second-screen application company
partly owned by NBCU parent Comcast. Redniss says that while USA is free to
work with other social and second-screen platforms, "we do want to build up the
community around Zeebox."
Redniss adds that what RebelMouse and Zeebox do are very
different, but "eventually what we're doing with RebelMouse we will seamlessly
integrate into executions on Zeebox."