Technology puts ‘lock’ on digital content

A deal reached last month between Cinram International, a leading manufacturer and distributor of videocassettes, music CDs, CD-ROMs, and DVDs, and BroadCast Software, a developer of solutions that thwart would-be pirates of digital content, promises to have far-reaching implications for marketers...

A deal reached last month between Cinram International, a leading manufacturer and distributor of videocassettes, music CDs, CD-ROMs, and DVDs, and BroadCast Software, a developer of solutions that thwart would-be pirates of digital content, promises to have far-reaching implications for marketers bent on integrating direct and interactive marketing methods.

Under the terms of the deal, Cinram has been appointed sales and marketing representative for BroadCast’s electronic content sales and distribution (ECSD) technology.

The technology allows content publishers and distributors to compress and ‘lock’ content on Internet servers and hard media, such as CDs.

By using so-called ‘digital wrapper’ technology, content publishers can provide customers with electronic files or discs containing a sample of content – a software demo, an audio track – that is open to them. Only by purchasing the ‘unlock’ code can they gain access to the balance of the content.

If used properly, the technology promises to be a landmark in the integration of direct and Web-based marketing, says Garson Hoffman of Toronto-based Cinram. ‘Everybody is fighting for a piece of this huge ocean called the Net and we are helping them complete transactions very simply.’

The exciting opportunity for e-marketers is in the area of disk deployment, says Hoffman. ‘Marketing services, distribution fulfillment, content – all delivered, on disk, to an identified target market. The recipients have a limited sample of electronic content and can access the rest of the content by buying the unlock code.’

Here’s how it might work: A software company specializing in children’s games could use direct mail to send units of a new application to select postal codes in Canada. The eight-year-old girl of the house pops the disc into her PC and gets a ‘taste’ of the game or related content. She likes what she sees and asks her parents to ‘unlock’ the balance of the content by calling a 1-800 number or ordering the unlock code online. This example works in a completely Web-based electronic model, too.

‘Using our technology, pretty much every house with a PC and a CD-ROM is a target,’ says Hoffman, whose own company is developing an online store. The company is currently working with a tax software firm whereby it’s taking the discs and sending them to up to 1.5 million households.

‘It’s push marketing and we anticipate a high level of success with it.’

Hoffman says his ‘digital wrapper’ technology is timely, particularly when music publishers would like to distribute their product over the Internet without fear of having their product pirated.

Industry and technology watchers say it’s exactly the kind of technology that content publishers need to take back some control.

‘This certainly has the potential to be a tremendous enhancement,’ says Charles Van Horn, president of the Princeton, N.J.-based International Recording Media Association. ‘These are enhancements that can move more product and content and it’s a good synergy between the Internet community and manufacturers of packaged media. This is what manufacturers have to do.’

The Cinram/Broadcast agreement is perhaps the latest development in so-called digital rights management. While DRM is technically an ‘after-sale’ copy protection measure, Hoffman says they are closely allied.

In a recent report from New York-based research firm Jupiter Communications, ‘Copyright and Intellectual Property: Creating New Business Models with Digital Rights Management’, principal analyst Aram Sinnreich says those using DRM should recognize the collection of data as tantamount to generating direct revenue.

By setting permissions on content when it is first distributed, he says, owners can take advantage of online pass-along to effectively target and provide incentives for new customers.

‘Perhaps most important,’ he writes, ‘DRM is an excellent tool for market research and customer data mining, both at the one-to-one level and at the broader market level.’

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.