Rich Media E-Mail Plugs Site Launch

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Closed circuit broadcast firm College Broadcast Inc. will mail rich-media e-mails to 250,000 students when it launches on April 7

"We are relying a on the e-mails as a starting point for the site to blast off," said John G. Montgomery, vice president of promotions and branding at College Broadcasting. "We are trying to eliminate our waste as much as possible to do a rifle approach direct to college students."

College Broadcast, Santa Monica, CA, claims it reaches 1.5 million students on more than 220 closed circuit college cable systems through its College Broadcast Network.

The company is launching to enable advertisers to cross-promote between the two media. It hopes to use its student representatives and an extensive grass-roots marketing campaign.

The 250,000 permission-based e-mail addresses were obtained through in conjunction with Radical College Broadcast claims it has achieved click-through rates of 20 percent to 25 percent using rich media e-mails.

The e-mails will allow students to view a video demonstration and enter the "Dorm Envy" contest to win electronic equipment. Recipients can also forward the message to friends. The use of rich media coincides with the site's overall emphasis on broadband. "Our whole platform was built to serve rich media advertising," said Chet Lyons, CEO of College Broadcast. "We want to populate the site with rich media advertising because these students can handle it and they except a strong multimedia content that gels with our television programming."

The e-mails are only the first step in a larger marketing push that extends from cable to the Internet, directly to on-campus events. Because of their popularity with the market, plans to give away as many Sony PlayStations as possible through all three levels of engagement.

To coincide with the mass mailing the company will drive the site and contest with full color insert ads in university newspapers and has partnered with two companies to get students at the grassroots level.

Online record label Saul Goodman, Inc. will plan parties, deploy people on the street and use viral chatters on campuses were's college student representatives are not in place. Marketing firm Green Galactic will walk the street giving away promo items, contact student radio stations to run a contest where stations compete to drive the most visitors to the site in exchange for equipment and prizes, and contact local club and bar owners to plan events around the site.

"We don't want to beat kids over the head," said Montgomery. "We are using all our available faculties and these other companies to keep a constant, steady flow of information to the students while planning events that they can just have fun at."

During the next year the company plans to add interactive elements between the cable network and the site, driving students back forth between the two to establish an integrated brand. Lyons also said that next fall will begin integrating student films, animation and games and is planning to work with MGM to conduct an on-campus test of a new television pilot.

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