Blockbuster Builds E-Mail Database

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Blockbuster Entertainment launched an e-mail newsletter this month at its Web site that will target offers based on member preferences and communicate new releases and store-specific promotions.


Visitors to the site (www.blockbuster.com) sign up for the @Blockbuster newsletter through a data capture system hosted by Admail.net, the e-mail marketing division of list firm DM Group, Aurora, OH.


Admail.net will manage and profile the Blockbuster database, which includes e-mail addresses collected from previous online promotions and in-store membership registration, and handle bulk e-mail newsletter distribution.


Blockbuster has no plans to share or sell its database for marketing purposes. However, the database gives the company a new communications link to its 4,000 video stores in the United States. Users indicate what type of information they wish to receive -- from release dates of new titles to new store openings -- and how often they want to receive it by filling out a survey that asks questions such as their favorite movie and video game categories and whether they own a DVD player.


"Our research shows that movie fans are hungry for that information," said Liz Greene, spokeswoman for Blockbuster.


Coupons are not yet available by e-mail, but the company is working on a number of benefits for @Blockbuster, Greene said. Members can opt to receive direct mail offers when they register in stores and will eventually be able to request them via e-mail.


The system set up by Admail.net places @Blockbuster subscriber information directly into Blockbuster's database. The data is cleaned to eliminate unusable e-mail addresses and available for use in 48 to 72 hours, said Robert Hicks, DM Group president.


Admail.net maintains a proprietary database with four years worth of good and bad e-mail addresses that it matches against all newly captured information.


Admail.net has provided e-mail services for direct marketing clients for three years. Blockbuster is its largest retail client and is a symbol, Hicks said, of the growing acceptance of e-mail as a marketing medium.
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