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TMX Interactive Launches Streaming E-Mail

With the goal of bringing television-quality commercial ads to an e-mailbox near you, TMX Interactive is expected to launch its rich media Web-commercial product today.

When a recipient opens the e-mail message, it links back to the TMX Interactive server and the advertisement is automatically streamed in. Unlike competitors such as MindArrow Systems, a recipient does not have to click on an attachment to view the message.

“They are full-screen or restricted TV-style ads streamed directly into the body of the e-mail,” said Blair Lyon, CEO of TMX Interactive, Conshohocken, PA.

This technology allows complex, broadcast-quality messages to be sent over a limited amount of bandwidth in files as small as 3K or 4K. “All ads are designed to start in under 1 second,” Lyon said. “It adjusts for bandwidth issues and will send you the best message for your bandwidth.”

Consumers will be able to complete a number of activities directly within the message, rather than click on a link that takes them out of their mailbox and onto a Web site. Inside the message, they will be able to conduct e-commerce, register for contests, opt in to receive more information and play games. They also will be able to control the audio of some ads.

Also, messages can be customized according to recipients’ demographic data so different audio, video or text elements can be sent to different sections of a client’s database.

Thanks to the “Love Bug” and its clones, consumers have become more leery of attachments from unknown sources. Being that TMX doesn’t use attachments, this gives the company a clear advantage over its competitors, said Lyon. “You don’t have to worry about the virus issue or running software on the computer.”

TMX expects its messages to have a viral component. For example, a woman interested in Clinique cosmetics can get the message, see the special offer and decide to share it with her sister, said Lyon. This helps to build a client’s database as all activity concerning the message is tracked in real time.

Additionally, if a message is ineffective, a client will know in a short period of time. “You can compute your return on investment right away,” Lyon said. “If it’s a medium that’s not working for you, you’ll know in two or three days — just look at your Web report.”

Clients such as SAP America Inc., Calvin Klein and Bobbie Brown Cosmetics (a division of Estee Lauder) have signed on to use the service. TMX can create a 30-second ad for $15,000. Clients can use this ad on CD-ROMs and on their Web site, as there is no licensing fee. Each message costs 4 to 8 cents depending on the quantity sent.

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