USA Network sets records for Characters Unite anti-intolerance programming and social media campaign

Michelle Clancy | 11-03-2013
USA Network has announced that it reached more than 19 million people during its third Characters Unite Month in February. The multi-platform initiative was designed to promote tolerance and combat discrimination.
Over 19 million viewers tuned into more than eight hours of special Characters Unite month programming, including a commercial-free presentation of Schindler's List that was paired with second-screen experiences with the zeebox app, the NFL Characters Unite documentary, and episodes of Necessary Roughness and Suits.
"Committed to using its reach as the No 1 basic cable network, USA more than tripled its on-air content over the previous year," the company said.
The multi-episode Characters Unite-themed story arcs in USA's original series reached a total of 13.7 million viewers. Schindler's List delivered 3.2 million viewers and earned the distinction as top movie of the day in cable.
"Digital and social media have taken our ability to engage audiences in pro-social causes to an entirely new level," said Toby Graff, USA's senior vice president of public affairs. "Fans turned out in droves and took initiative to serve as ambassadors, spreading the Characters Unite message of respect and acceptance to an even wider audience. As a result, we saw an outpouring of support for the campaign and people across the country speaking out against hate and discrimination in their homes, schools and communities."
The centrepiece of the month was the "I Won't Stand For..." campaign which illustrates that everyone, everywhere can make a difference to stop racism, bullying, religious intolerance, sexism, homophobia, ableism and all forms of discrimination simply by saying they "won't stand for" it anymore.
Integrated throughout all of the Characters Unite Month activities, the customised social media initiatives included a new Facebook app and its campaign-specific Twitter hashtag #IWontStandFor. Fans actively engaged across all of the social channels to share what form of prejudice and injustice they would no longer tolerate, resulting in more than 41 million impressions. Fans created customised photos and became part of an interactive gallery on Facebook and on In four weeks, "likes" on the Characters Unite Facebook page increased by 50%.
Additionally, USA talent including Matt Bomer , Dule Hill , Meghan Markle , Sarah Raffery , Patrick J Adams and Gina Torres as well as athletes, students, elected officials, advocates and everyday Americans promoted acceptance in short "I Won't Stand For..." PSAs, videos and photos featured on-air, on the campaign's site, the Characters Unite YouTube channel and through social media channels. The live, running tally of people participating on the site overall saw a quadruple-digit increase, with the "I Won't Stand For..." section logging the most visits.