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Video-E-Mail.TV Eschews Advertising for Audience

A new virtual TV service is temporarily shying away from selling online advertising as a means of revenue.

Instead, Video-E-Mail.TV, which is rolling out several free video channels online, is partnering with Ontel Products Corp., Fairfield, NJ, to supply a range of products featured on TV infomercials.

“Rather than wait for advertisers, we are building our audience. Then, later, we would consider display advertising,” said Nathan Sassover, founder of Video-E-Mail, Los Angeles.

The first channel, FashionTVNet.com, which debuted July 4, is supported by sales of fashion, health and beauty products. Through January the channel will feature about 30 video streaming programs, e-mailed to consumers who opt in. Targeted to women age 18 to 49, the channel includes previews from New York, Paris and Milan fashion shows.

The fashion programs include one- or two-minute direct response ads. Viewers can click through to buy or can return to their programs. FashionTVNet currently is running six ads in heavy rotation, because it takes about three impressions before a purchase is made, Sassover said.

Video-E-Mail plans to obtain the audience for FashionTVNet from about 8 million initial e-mails that include a video sample and information on subscribing. Video-E-Mail acquired the e-mails of women who had opted in to health, beauty, fashion and travel e-mail lists from several third-party list providers, which Sassover declined to name.

The products sold on FashionTVNet and the company's other channels must have already sold at least 400,000 units.

“We want products with a success history. We're not here to test products,” Sassover said. The products typically are priced at $19.95 to $39.95 each. However, based on consumer response, Video-E-Mail may add products at higher prices.

Video-E-Mail will maintain the channels' free status for about a year, when it will implement subscriptions.

The company will launch several other channels in the third and fourth quarters.

Eventually, there will be 155 thematic and geography-based channels. Video-E-Mail owns dot-TV domains in 75 countries and U.S. regions. Sassover foresees that the city/regional channels could represent the official site of that local government. Several state and local governments currently provide Video-E-Mail with videos on economic development and other issues, and Video-E-Mail develops the videos into programs that can be streamed.

Sassover compares the targeted online video channels with specialized magazines and local TV news.

“Our TV channels are delivered to the viewer, rather than forcing them into surf mode to get desired programming. [The channels] all enable the ability to deliver very demographic or psychographic content,” Sassover said.

The company's file sharing network, WorldP2P, also is an efficient way to distribute the programs with embedded advertising, Sassover said. “It's powerful because users can help distribute the content to their friends,” he said.

Users sign up for the channels they want at WorldTVNet.com, and they choose whether they want the channel sent to their e-mail box via Video-E-Mail.TV or via WorldP2P.TV. The channels are available via a regular 56K connection or broadband.

Users view the streaming video programs — which are delivered weekly, bimonthly or monthly, depending on the channel — within the e-mails.

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