Column: Next Online Gold Rush? It’s Local, Baby

Jul 8, 2008  •  Post A Comment

I’m going to make a prediction: The next big money-making venue for new-media producers is in local online video ads.
So all you Web producers, creators and videographers who want to add to your resumes, my advice is: Start pounding the pavement at your local shopping center. Hit up the real estate firms, the clothing boutiques, maybe even the shrinks. (Wouldn’t you rather see a short video of what your potential shrink looks like before you go lie down on that couch and start spilling the beans?)
Because your next client could be the farmers market or maybe even the bakery selling those awesome cherry chocolate chip cookies. You see, there’s a whole new realm of online video content that’s going to start bubbling up this year. You already know that network shows, YouTube and the water-cooler viral video of the moment are hot.
I’m here to tell you your local plumber is, too.
Consider this: Ad revenue from local online video will grow to $1.5 billion in 2012, up from $10.9 million last year, according to the Kelsey Group. What’s more, video ads will command about 11.6% of the online ad budgets of small and medium-size businesses by 2012.
Where is this money going to? To local listings, to the yellow pages of the Web. Because, let’s face it, are you still looking up a locksmith in the actual Yellow Pages book? I don’t even get the Yellow Pages anymore. If I needed to fix my back door, you bet I’d find that locksmith online. And you know what? I’d give my business to the locksmith who was easiest to find on the Internet. That locksmith probably also would be the one with a video ad.
The Kelsey Group says local online video is growing in part because of the emergence of video production companies that focus on mining these local opportunities, such as TurnHere or Spot Runner. That’s because there’s money to be made. Video ads for local online Yellow Pages are selling at about $3,000 to $5,000 each to small businesses, said local media research firm Borrell Associates.
So the gold rush in the online video economy could be starting not in Silicon Alley, nor in Silicon Valley, but in our own neighborhood.

52 Comments

  1. That’s right when my lock is broken I have all the time in the world to sit down and watch a video. Get a clue. True there are headings that will benefit, but those that are heavy emergency use are not it.

  2. Is it just online video, or will mobile and VOD serve as cost-effective, scalable, measurable, and demonstrably justifiable distribution channels for local advertising videos? Will Project Canoe have room to paddle in this space?
    I’ll guess that the answer contains an “It depends …”, so what are the dependencies?

  3. A lock can stick and still work, and a broken lock isn’t an emergency unless you live in the ghetto. A 30 second video spot, especially if it’s the only one, is going to make that business stand out from the crowd and predispose customers to choosing it.
    Who doesn’t have 30 seconds? And do you know what’s a REAL waste of time? Making a bunch of phone calls, sitting on hold, trying to get enough information to make a decision about which business to patronize.
    I haven’t opened a phone book in years, but I am often frustrated that online searches just give me names, addresses and phone numbers, and maybe a map link. A little 30 second spot would give me at least some basis for comparison shopping. Also, Google inserts thumbnails of video in the search results, and a picture in a sea of text is going to always get clicks.

  4. As a video producer and marketer, I agree that this could be fertile territory. However, as far as I know, YellowPages and SuperPages have exclusive production agreements with Turn Here.
    Most of the other opportunities for local advertisers are with services like Jivox and Merchant Circle. They focus more on creating ads using stock video footage and photos, with less emphasis on businesses contributing their own videos.
    The best option looks like YouTube ads because they give advertisers the ability to host as well as serve ads (in stream lower thirds type and banner-style) on targeted channels. And no one can dispute that YouTube has the largest video network. Not sure yet, however, how well they would be able to target local eyeballs for local business video ads.

  5. There is a company out there called Spotzer Media that makes the video ads enjoyable to watch. They are headquartered in Amsterdam and the videos have that european feel; they have humor and they don’t hit you over the head. They also do what they call local promotional video ads which are better than the Major TV commercials we see hear. I understand they have a New York office and have already landed several large accounts.

  6. I agree totally with the article, especially in the tourism market. Imagine taking a trip and being able to see what businesses are there before you go.
    Production companies now have so many places to showcase their productions, that is nothing but good for everyone. I think the style of spots that will be produced might be something more informational rather than arty. I think people will still want hard info rather than some splashy ad.
    Z

  7. You’re right Daisy, this is the next big gold rush! I’m still trying to figure out the revenue model but that’s what I’m doing with this project.
    http://hellolombard.com
    Right now I’m still in the experiment stage. I think there are so many ways to use these, online, mobile, in-store for sure yellow pages online like you said.
    My approach has been to make it documentary style. But you could do anything besides the same old 30 second spot. You really see a place has heart and what they are all about. Not sure if this works for “Long John Silvers” but I think it can work for locals.
    Anyway, I hope nobody else read this story and gets any ideas.

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