Spotzer CEO founder Andrew Klein makes no bones about being inspired by SpotRunner, the break-through company that broke out last year by making it easy for small businesses to produce video and place it on local media. Spotzer is pretty much doing the same thing.
But Klein’s 35-person outfit, which launched six weeks ago in its home base of the Netherlands, is going about it differently. Unlike SpotRunner, which places most of its media on local broadcast and cable outlets, Spotzer is taking more of a multimedia approach. In addition to broadcast and cable – SpotRunner’s strength — Spotzer is actively pursuing placement on Internet, mobile, MP3s and out-of-home.
The latter, especially, is showing real growth in markets around the world. Spotzer’s out-of-home effort is being done in partnership with a Dutch agency that has contracts with high traffic public spaces, including public train stations and fast food restaurants. “They have four screens in every McDonalds” in the Netherlands, says Klein. “New media is more compelling. It is more targeted, and more interesting.”
While price points for cable TV placement are low, it is because “not that many people are watching” due to the glut of channels, says Klein. “Cable is not that targeted.”
Spotzer’s production capabilities are also differentiated. The company is focused on international markets, and is building a library of content filmed in cheap, overseas markets. It had 300 films at launch, and ultimately envisions a library of thousands.
”We did 100 commercials in seven days in Kiev,” says Klein. “The cost savings is staggering” and the quality is even better, he suggests. Like SpotRunner, the ads will be offered to local businesses on a geo-exclusive basis. Price points are “from $199 to a few thousand dollars. Our factory-like conditions cut costs by 70-80 percent,” he says.
The filming is also done with an eye on being universal, so that small businesses in Serbia will be as comfortable leasing them as those in the U.K. Many SpotRunner ads are “very American,” he says. “You can see the cars in Connecticut.”
The U.S. is important to Spotzer’s plans – U.S. operations launch in a couple of months, and Klein expects it will be half of Spotzer’s revenues in five years. But Europe and Asia will also be major markets. The Netherlands, in particular, is proving to be a first rate laboratory for non-U.S. operations, since it has high mobile penetration and advanced cable infrastructure with local ad insertion – something the American cable industry sees as a major goal for the future.
One area in which Spotzer is probably competing head-to-head with SpotRunner is in forming sales ties with local media and directory outlets. Just as SpotRunner has enlisted former Yahoo/ Knight Ridder/Pac Bell exec Tim Lambert to run sales, Spotzer has especially zeroed in on Yellow Pages execs. So far, it has recruited TMP veteran Rick Klein (no relation) to run U.S. sales out of the Bay Area. The company has additional Yellow Pages industry fire power via former European Directories CEO Lex Cohen, who sits on the company’s board.