Michael Taylor on the Kelsey Group blog discusses the possibility that yellow pages sites could take a leadership position in offering local video. I agree that there’s an important opportunity as video becomes more strategic from both a publisher and advertiser standpoint. And the major US YP publishers are either already doing it or have it on their roadmaps.
There were several startups in the past few years that tried to host video ads for local businesses, but they were ahead of their time. The time is definitely now, however.
Video is now very cheap to produce but the question is: who will shoot it for publishers? The newspapers (i.e., NY Times), for example, are training reporters to become pseudo-professional videographers. But you’re not going to ask the YP sales force to shoot commercials, notwithstanding the fact that YouTube and related sites have conditioned people to tolerate “production values” that fall below agency/Hollywood standards.
So while you don’t have to produce video as good as SpotRunner’s ads for example, you do need something that meets minimum quality standards visually and otherwise.
As a stop gap, publishers can use still phtographs to create slide shows that have the dynamic quality of video (AdMission does this for marketers and publishers today.)
The YP sales force could certainly sell video and the sites could certainly host it (RH Donnelley’s Dex Online has been selling video for some time — the redesign is nice, with PPCall ads from Ingenio BTW). But, again, who will shoot it?
TurnHere has arguably provided the model: a freelance workforce of local videographers. CEO Brad Inman has been approached to rent his videographers by everyone in local at this point. Last time I spoke with him no decisions had been made as to whether he was going to hire them out to others.
Comcast also shoots local video that it broadcasts on cable TV.