With participating restaurants in North America, Australia, the U.K. and soon in Japan and France, Transmedia is negotiating with PurchasePoint, a London marketing company, to set up the ad sales operation.
Transmedia expects more than 8,000 restaurants and 1 million cardholders participating by yearend.
"Instead of being driven by editorial, the catalog and advertising will be the bulk of the content," said Bob Whittington, PurchasePoint's managing director. "Also, advertisers will be able to fire their ads at a known target audience-they know precisely who they're going to talk to."
PAY A FEE, GET A BREAK
A $53.20 annual fee buys Transmedia cardholders 25% discounts on all meals and beverages at member restaurants-along with participating restaurant directories. The information is updated every three months.
In June, PurchasePoint will install modem-driven multimedia computers in 300 Transmedia restaurants in the U.S., Australia and Europe, and expects the number to swell to 2,000 Transmedia restaurants online in 18 months.
Multimedia machines will use the new CD-ROM, updated monthly, to offer access to Transmedia's restaurant listings. They will also include editorial supplied by industry experts in their respective countries and news on the food, beverage and restaurant industries.
Marketers advertising on the disc will mainly be service providers and product manufacturers targeting restaurant owners, Mr. Whittington said.
The CD-ROM also will be distributed to PC-owning cardholders to search and make inquiries about restaurants they wish to visit at home or abroad. Restaurants targeting cardholders will be able to advertise, including making modifications.
Transmedia also offers incentives for cardholders who use the PurchasePoint CD-ROM to order meals and drinks before arriving at the restaurant. Transmedia is negotiating with a major U.K. airline to reward passengers for using Transmedia restaurants. In the U.S., Transmedia offers frequent-flier miles for Continental Airlines and United Airlines, details of which can be advertised on the CD-ROM.
"Because of the IBM GlobalLink, we have two-way communication; we can tell the advertiser who needs to create a special offer that we can tweak anytime to make sure it works," added Edward Guinan, chief executive of PurchasePoint and of Transmedia Europe and Asia.
"We shall also have an audit trail that will enable us to look at who's looking at which ads and what it does with them," Mr. Whittington said.
"Transmedia will have a great deal of information about the cardholder by recording the customers' activities," said Budd Margolis, a London consultant working with PurchasePoint on the CD-ROM.
Future plans include expanding PurchasePoint's CD-ROM catalog with international retailers and hotel chains targeting travelers and vacationers.
The CD-ROM will also feature a virtual image of participating restaurants, airlines, hotels and shops.