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Radio has virtually been a non-starter for local online sales, but a new video initiative by Clear Channel Radio, the nation’s largest chain with stations in 80 U.S. markets, might ramp things up. The video initiative, using Denver Multimedia (DMM) as its video producer, provides radio advertisers with the option to produce 30- or 60-second videos.

Bob Kennedy, DMM’s president and CEO, says Clear Channel has been testing the video offering in the Denver market. “They test everything in Denver,” he says. “They like it because it puts a face to their advertisers’ voice.” Kennedy anticipates Clear Channel will take the program nationwide within six months.

In addition to Clear Channel, Kennedy says DMM has a number of Internet Yellow Pages offerings in the field, where it competes against vendors such as TurnHere and EZ Show. For instance, he notes that the company has signed to provide videos on a national basis with Superpages, and has conducted tests with and

To me, the video networks seem like they are pretty much the same, and there aren’t high barriers to entry. They vary based on costs, length of site visits, whether they incorporate stock footage, and the extent they work with advertisers on extras, such as V-SEO.

But Kennedy, whose company has an extensive history in the infomercial business, says there is more to building a video production network than meets the eye. DMM competes hard on price, with reseller prices typically ending up in the $1,500 to $2,000 range (although there is a wide variance). It has also been aggregating a national network of high-quality videographers that must submit expert quality videos before they receive training for standardized performance levels, including tight 14-day deadlines that are tracked via customized software.

Wedding videographers are ideal recruits to the DMM network, says Kennedy. “They are used to working with lots of different light levels and also tend to have high-quality cameras.” Roughly 15 percent to 20 percent of DMM’s videographers are wedding pros. Others are agency moonlighters, while some are recent college graduates. But they must be pros. For instance, DMM doesn’t consider videographers seeking to submit music-and home videos.

For now, Kennedy says he has been doing well working with resellers. But the company intends to add to its product offerings in a few months with a direct model that will include a host of solutions for small businesses, including the ability to distribute on multiple platforms for one price. Currently, advertisers need to pay a premium to “own” the copyright, which would let them place their videos on multiple platforms at will. This is clearly the direction in which online video is moving. The company also has a deal in place with Mixpo to provide its value-added, “actionable” video services to DMM offerings.

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