Although terms of the agreement were not fully disclosed, Columbia House will offer its 13 million members the option to request AOL software, and has gone as far as to guarantee AOL a minimum number of new memberships. The direct marketer will even distribute the software to those who make the request.
The marketing agreement includes advertising and promotions, both online and offline, including product bundling, direct mail initiatives, and comarketing and advertising campaigns.
"Columbia House understands that the online medium brings a whole new level of convenience to clubs as they reach out to potential members," said AOL president Bob Pittman.
AOL members who click on the various Columbia House icons and advertisements will be directed to a customized, cobranded home page designed especially for the AOL audience. The site will have special offers created specifically for AOL members, the companies said.
"We've achieved excellent results to date from expanding our traditional Club business into the online environment," said Bill Ostroff, vice president of Columbia House Interactive. "Selecting AOL as our preferred interactive service presents a clear win for us both in terms of reaching and servicing our existing members and acquiring new customers."
As reported yesterday, AOL announced its membership exceeded 16 million, with another 2 million members from its CompuServe service.
The Columbia House Company, jointly owned by Time Warner's Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, is the world's largest direct marketer of home entertainment products, with more than 15 million club members in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.