TV Gets New Email Marketing Tool Via Goodmail

A Silicon Valley company will soon give television networks and movie studios a compelling new marketing tool: the opportunity to insert video directly into emails. The platform from Goodmail Systems will allow email recipients to view a “Grey’s Anatomy” promo or movie trailer just as they open a message. Networks such as NBC and TBS are among those that send out electronic newsletters and could capitalize on the new Goodmail system. Programmers might also be able to sell advertising such as pre-rolls before videos or stand-alone spots.

Currently, due to safety issues involving Internet Service Providers (ISPs), marketers can’t embed video in the promotional newsletters and other emails they send out. The best they can do is offer a link for users to click through to watch video on another page.

Goodmail will begin distributing the system, known as Certified Video, early next year in partnership with AOL, Yahoo, Cox, Comcast and others. While it may be tailor-made for media companies, the platform can help marketers in all fields place ads or informational clips in emails.

So far, Goodmail CEO Peter Horan said a range of media clients have signed up for the 2009 service, including concert promoter Live Nation (which could insert clips of top artists like Madonna); a major cable news network; a leading newspaper increasingly offering Internet video; and a conglomerate with a group of broadcast and cable outlets.

“We think TV networks, programmers and movie studios are natural partners for Certified Video,” Horan said in an interview, after speaking at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit this week.

While the AMC network is not yet a client, Horan offered a scenario where it could drive tune-in for hit series “Mad Men.” The show airs Sunday nights. On its Web site, AMC provides preview clips on Thursdays and recap videos on Mondays–both could be slotted into emails.

For programmers, there is also the potential to offer “DVD extra”-type content, such as behind-the-scenes or cutting-room-floor video. The Goodmail platform places no limit on the length of the video streams.

While it is unlikely from a consumer preference standpoint, programmers could weave full episodes of TV shows in emails. “I’m giving them the canvas, and they’ll paint the picture,” Horan said.

A benefit for marketers is that users don’t have to endure any load time–even if only a few seconds–that comes with clicking-through to another page for content. “Every time consumers are asked to take one more action and click onto a Web site, you lose some of them,” Horan said.

Under the system’s design, video starts playing as soon as an email is opened, but without audio. A consumer must then click a button to turn on the sound–a decision made to avoid senders appearing overly intrusive.

Goodmail is a provider of certified email services that verify the authenticity of emails. It looks to prevent pirates from sending messages that appear to be from legitimate companies that seek to obtain personal information. Some 600 clients in all fields have hired the company to protect them in the email arena.

Goodmail’s technology powers the Certified Video system by using coding to ensure ISPs allow video emails to pass through and wind up in a consumer inbox.

Several years ago, marketers had the ability to embed video in emails, but ISPs grew wary of spyware and virus downloaders. So they shut down the practice by blocking JavaScript functionality that allowed for the video.

Goodmail is backed by four private-equity firms and in November, raised $20 million in a new round of financing led by Bessemer Venture Partners.


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