I’ve said in the past that in many ways TurnHere is the most interesting local search site online. The video site recently did a deal with Google to put its local video guides on Google Earth. And today the site announced a deal with Intercontinental Hotels:
TurnHere will produce a series of brief 2-3 minute films, each featuring an InterContinental branded hotel along with noteworthy local neighborhood destinations including restaurants, nightlife, shopping and tourist attractions. Each film will be narrated by an InterContinental Concierge and produced in an authentic and intimate TurnHere style, providing hotel guests with a rich, personalized ‘in the know’ experience. TurnHere will produce films for each of InterContinental’s 144 hotels and resorts around the world.
Here’s an example tour.
TurnHere founder Brad Inman, who started Inman News and real estate vertical HomeGain, was a panelist on a video panel in the final conference I organized for The Kelsey Group this past March. That panel was called “1,000,001 Channels: But Is Anybody Watching?” (YouTube was supposed to be there but cancelled at the last minute). It was opposite another breakout session entitled, “Sales Channels and Their Challenges.”
The sales channel panel was much more heavily attended, I would guess because those issues were more pressing for attendees. But it’s also because many of the attendees didn’t yet “get” online video or how important it was becoming. Six months later people now understand (or hopefully do) the importance and power of video online.
I spoke to Brad Inman yesterday about TurnHere generally and the Intercontinental deal. He’s built a network of hundreds and hundreds of freelance local filmmakers who are rapidly building a huge content repository, which is much much more powerful than text. He’s also creating ads, using that same filmmaker network, for local businesses.
How much do those ads cost? They’re $300 for the production and $50 per month for continued hosting and distribution. And each of those ads has a unique URL. TurnHere syndicates those ads to Google, Yahoo and MSN, as well as a few other places beyond its own destination site.
Inman told me that TurnHere produces the commercials first and local businesses have the option to buy them or not buy them if they’re displeased. Inman said that over 80% opt in.
Inman told me he’d been approached by lots of publishers seeking to leverage his local filmmaker network and they’re in discussions with some of them but those deals “are far from closed.” Among yellow pages publishers, Dex (owned by RH Donnelley) is the only one to offer video production.
TurnHere is going to bump up against Spot Runner as the latter gets into online distribution of its ads. The difference is that Spot Runner is using pre-produced creative and TurnHere makes customized local ads. (Here’s an example for the Chocolate Bar in New York.) These ads are powerful because they’re visual (obviously) but not too stiff or too slick. They have an “authentic” feel, which is the TurnHere style.
In the restaurant vertical, Savory New York is going after something similar. But otherwise, there really isn’t anyone else out there doing what TurnHere is doing.
Here’s more on the Intercontinental deal from Kate Kaye at ClickZ.