Who will dominate local video on the Web?

Via Forbes.com, some examples of local video sites.

“A swarm of (…) tech entrepreneurs are racing against existing network affiliates and the big online portals to become the prime video destinations for local clips. Department stores, car dealers and other local advertisers are following the audience online. Local Web ads will hit $7.7 billion this year, up 60% from 2005, projects Borrell Associates. Video-specific local ad spending is up to $150 million from nil two years ago.”


“If network viewers can move to the Web so easily, why can’t Nathan Sassover get a piece of that action, maybe by narrowing the audience a little? Click over to his PalmSpringsTV.com. It’s not much to look at, but it’s the only one-stop shop for clips from the desert playground: a recent architecture festival, restaurant visits, interviews with doctors. Sassover’s company, Worldnetcast, owns 750 other geographically themed video sites, including BelAirTV.com, SouthamptonTV.com and AspenTV.com. “We’re the Web’s local affiliates,” says Sassover. Sassover boasts big advertisers such as American Express and GlaxoSmithkline, but 95% of his ad revenue comes from 30-minute infomercials. He charges plastic surgeons, real estate brokers and the like $7,000 to run one. In 2006 Sassover booked $150,000 in profits on $500,000 in ad revenue.”


“Yahoo stormed into local video last year by agreeing to host videos from 16 CBS affiliates. It also launched You Witness News, an amateur photo and video site, with Reuters. “We’re bullish on local video,” says Yahoo news head, Scott Moore, who is studying how to weave the new footage into the portal’s local news sites and Yellow Pages.”

Young Broadcasting:

“Young Broadcasting’s WKRN in Nashville and KRON in San Francisco are using the Web to transform local reporting. The stations reorganized their newsrooms last year, equipping every reporter, producer and videographer with his own digital camera and giving orders to shoot at least one segment per day. The stations run 15 stories per day on their Web sites, including real estate reporters discussing hot neighborhoods and outdoor correspondents recounting recent deer hunting trips. Auto dealership ads run alongside the clips.”

Livei Mobile TV:

“Last year San Francisco software engineer David Tarnowski founded Livei Mobile TV, a startup devoted to processing and distributing videos shot by freelancers with cell phone cameras. The plan is to alert the freelancers to things like fires and plane crashes. Livei would then transmit the video feeds to the Web sites of local papers and TV stations, based on their interests and needs. Livei, the paper or station and the freelancer would split revenue from ads next to the feed.”

What it means: This segment is still very nascent, but there’s bound to be a very interesting future for local video sites. One that I like (not mentioned above) is TurnHere, whose videos appear in Google Earth. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could geocode your video on YouTube and TV affiliates sites (like Flickr is doing with pictures) and mash those up in local search sites? BTW, the Lost Remote blog has some interesting suggestions on how local TV affiliates will survive in a world of online tv viewing, i.e. produce original local programming. Sounds familiar? It’s the same strategy that newspapers should deploy: produce original local and hyperlocal content.


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