Classifieds TV: Interesting but Flawed

Late to the party on this one . . . but here's a MediaPost story (reg. req'd) from Monday about the SF Chronicle (owned by Hearst) launching a cable TV show devoted to classifieds advertising, which will also be streamed on the SF Gate site.

Classifieds on "Chronicle Jobs TV" will be up to 30 seconds in length and will be divided into six categories: general, sales and marketing, professional, health care, skills and trades, and technology. In addition to appearing three consecutive days on the TV show, the ads will also be streaming at www.SFGate.com for a one-week period.

The show is being created by Digital Media Classifieds, a Denver-based company that makes customized TV programs as well as Internet videos for online and print publishers. Company founder Evan Neubeiser said at least 100 newspapers nationwide have similar TV shows, and that many of them go beyond recruitment advertising to include categories like automotive, real estate, and rentals. Among his larger newspaper clients, he said, are the Houston Chronicle, the Arizona Republic, and the Dallas Morning News.

In the broadest sense, this is in the same category as Spot Runner, bringing video distribution to local businesses. I like it as a unique offering but I think the cable TV piece is not what's interesting and/or valuable about it. Rather the Web streaming is going to be far more potentially effective. The online distribution preserves the powerful "directional" aspect of classified advertising, whereas the cable TV version will dilute it somewhat.

If you can make the economics work then it makes sense to throw in the cable TV as well. But I don't know who's going to be watching those shows on conventional TV—it's a lot less efficient for users than the Internet.

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