"Connect & Collect," a weekly interactive sweepstakes manned by Game Show Network last year, proved to be a most aptly named initiative.
The weekly sweepstakes, tied to GSN's interactive programming, allowed consumers to enter the sweepstakes via set-top boxes or computers during one of the interactive telecasts. While entrants were afforded opportunities to win one or more of more than a thousand prizes that were awarded, GSN was buttressing its brand awareness, increasing game-play participation and establishing relationships with viewers. For these reasons and more, GSN is being recognized as a first-place winner in the programmer/industry supplier category in CTAM's Customer Retention Case Study Competition.
From June 2002 through the end of last year, GSN deployed an array of tactics to support the promotion and break through the clutter of on-air messages flagging other new shows from programmers with significantly larger budgets. Similarly, GSN found itself competing for attention with other programmers in the online arena.
Yet, GSN's campaign managed to resonate with existing and new viewers, via on-air crawls during regular and ITV programming. The network also ran 30-second spots touting the interactive play and sweepstakes. Online support featured an e-mail campaign to GSN registrants, and banner ads and splash pages on gameshownetwork.com. There was also a link to Sony.com and a text link on the Sony Dreamlink newsletter.
Online players received one sweepstakes entry every time they watched and played along with an interactive game, and benefited from additional entries when they answered questions about a show sponsor during a commercial break. There were more than 60 weekly winners and, in total, upward of 1,000 Sony Electronics products and DVDs and GSN premiums were awarded.
GSN data showed that the tune-in length for interactive players was 10% greater than with viewers just watching the shows. And with the weekly prize incentives, the network was able to attract and retain watchers.
"It certainly increased our play-along enrollment," said senior vice president of marketing Dena Kaplan of the 15% uptick in ITV players produced by the promotion. "We also think it provided valuable feedback for distributors looking to retain or acquire subscribers."
The promotion also generated a 36% increase in entries to Connect & Collect sweepstakes, which meant that more viewers played along because of the promotion's rewards.
Kaplan noted that GSN also deployed the promotion as a marketing tool for distributors, giving them feedback on the winners in their markets. In that way, operators could also share in the credit for rewarding their customers.
Also, the promotion engendered a 73% retention rate, signifying that participants kept returning to play and watch GSN's ITV originals.
Moreover, the promotion also resulted in a giant leap in GSN's registrant database to more than 600,000 from 30,000. Many of the additions were 18-to-49-year-olds, the demographic most favored by advertisers.
"Connect & Collect helped make us a better content company for our viewers. We value dearly the one-to-one relationship that has been established through it. We believe it sets up apart from other programming services," said Kaplan.
To that end, she said GSN has conducted online panels with subscribers that registered for the sweepstakes. "There are evaluative surveys in which we get feedback about new programming, advertising and promotions," she added. "Working with viewers is a growing part of our business."
The case study results found that more than three-fourths of GSN viewers responded to questions about ad spots on the network.
Buoyed by the results of Connect & Collect Sweepstakes, Kaplan said GSN has retooled that program with the current year's "Watch & Play" variation.
The initiative, which kicked off on Jan. 20 and is running for the balance of 2003, will award $100,000 worth of prizes. Participants who log onto gameshownetwork.com can play seven interactive, sync-to broadcast TV games—Cram, Friend or Foe?,
Greed, Lingo, Russian Roulette, Whammy
and WinTuition—and get a chance to win prizes from Sony like a DVD Dream System, 36-inch Trinitron TV and Clie Hand, as well as such products from Sharper Image as Robot Scout and Mega Million Slot Machine. The interactive sweepstakes is also serving as an additional platform for GSN advertisers as Burger King, Saturn, Diet Dr. Pepper, Greyhound, Discover Card, Listerine, Suzuki and Sara Lee.
"We believe in this process and continue to reinvent programs that reward consumers, who tell us about what they like and don't like about what our network is doing," said Kaplan.