The latest item in the torrent of video announcements coming out of the local search world is TurnHere’s vendor relationship with Yellowpages.com, announced today.
After partnering with a handful of national chains such as InterContinental Hotels to shoot localized ads for their far-flung affiliates, the company has begun to partner with local search and Internet Yellow Pages sites. It has always had a strong production capability but less online distribution in local search circles to make better use of this content.
Deals with Citysearch last April, Superpages last month and now Yellowpages.com give it a much stronger distribution backbone. These publishers also clearly boost business levels for TurnHere by essentially reselling its video ad service through their own local sales channels. Through this, TurnHere will see natural marketing benefits.
“We see overwhelming demand, and it’s mostly coming from people that have a vision and see video as transformative, and that’s the type of business we’re chasing,” TurnHere CEO Brad Inman told me last week. “Quite frankly we’re overwhelmed with the demand that’s out there. There are a lot of people that realize that words and pictures are going to be converted to video.”
As it ramps up in business, outsourcing levels to its network of videographers will meanwhile scale up to the appropriate levels. This is one of the strengths of TurnHere’s model that requires very low overhead and an ability to scale to higher levels of demand with relative ease. This model in fact was replicated in some ways by Spot Runner’s announcement yesterday that it will acquire video ad production network GlobeShooter.
So what about Yellowpages.com? The IYP is on a clear path toward boosting its video offering and this partnership is a clear sign of this. As Yellowpages.com president Charles Stubbs asserted during an on-stage interview with my colleague Charles Laughlin at SES Chicago in December, the company will push hard into video ad offerings for SMBs.
Interestingly, Stubbs also posited that this will have the byproduct of a video ad library to get a head start on the inventory that will open up with AT&T’s IPTV service (U-verse) and related “three screen” initiatives. More on IPTV’s natural ad inventory advantages over cable — a function of its IP-based architecture — is described in greater detail here.
“Both DA and IPTV are nascent technologies in terms of integrating advertising. But as AT&T moves into IPTV, it is going to get a lot of ad inventory,” Stubbs said. “We think we can upsell and port content into U-verse. If we can get a head start with video ads, we’ll be ready when there is critical mass of U-verse [inventory].”
In the meantime, AT&T is also clearly trying to boost the video ad products for SMBs by offering a higher-end personalized ad product. As we keep saying, there is currently a great deal of experimentation by IYPs with respect to pricing and quality levels in blossoming video ad products. Having many price points will enable better penetration of the SMB marketplace, where a range of ad budgets exist.
TurnHere is at the upper end of the sliding scale of price and personalization. Videos shot by TurnHere are of very high quality and personalization — generally involving interviews with proprietors and lots of footage shot on site. Here’s an example of a Yellowpages.com advertiser that has already taken advantage of the offer. It’s a restaurant in Providence, RI, near my hometown, which does a good job capturing the essence of the place and its surroundings (although the Federal Hill, Sopranos-esque scene that Providence is known for is left out :wink:).