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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3958

Title: Characters Welcome: the brand that reinvented USA Network
Authors: Toner, Allison Lynn
Keywords: Television management;USA Network;Cable television;Public-access television
Issue Date: Apr-2012
Abstract: The television industry has clearly evolved from a time when the “Big Three” broadcast networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS dominated the tube. The “Big Three” were the only viewing options and each had their own unique style of programming. However, those golden days of television are in the past and today viewers have hundreds of channel options and different ways to watch, both broadcast and cable networks. Thus, the need for a network to differentiate itself from others has grown tremendously. One important way to achieve this is by creating a brand. For television networks, the primary purpose of a brand is define its identity and to help it stand out against competition. However, broadcast and cable networks take different approaches to branding. Cable brands are much more obvious. USA Network is a key example of a cable channel that has used branding successfully. In 2005, USA Network launched its Characters Welcome brand. In USA’s case, the brand is used in every aspect of the network, especially in the original programming. There is a unique symbiotic relationship between the Characters Welcome brand and the programming. Meaning that the three elements of the brand, (1) “Blue Sky,” (2) A slightly flawed but likeable central character who is best at his or her career, and (3) levity or touch of humor are incorporated into the original programming. Since this new brand was established, USA changed from a fledgling network into one that has received many industry accolades including becoming the number one cable network for six years running. Accordingly, this case study focuses on the growth of USA Network, its brand and original programming. It also tests the specific relationship between the Characters Welcome brand and the programming through observation of selected episodes of the two oldest series Psych and Burn Notice plus the two freshman series Necessary Roughness and Suits. Throughout the observation, the three elements of the Characters Welcome were searched for in the episodes. The findings of this case study shed some light on the relationship between USA’s brand and programming. Plus, if the network’s newest shows are consistent with the brand. Furthermore, the case study will provide USA Network’s plan for future programming and how it can attempt to keep the brand fresh.
Description: Thesis (M.S., Media Arts and Design--Drexel University, 2012.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3958
Appears in Collections:Paul F. Harron Graduate Program in Television Management theses

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