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spot-runner.jpgSpot Runner announced a deal today with LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell to distribute spot cable ad creation and buying capability to affiliated law firms. This can be compared to Spot Runner’s deal with Coldwell Banker in the real estate vertical that gives the firm’s far flung agents immediate access to customize 30 second ads, and use Spot Runner’s cable spot buying dashboard to determine geographic and demographic targeting for where the ads will run.

These deals for spot runner are the best way for the business to scale. Otherwise it is addressing a very wide and fragmented segment of small businesses. This becomes even harder if you look at the fact that it employs a self service model without a sales force. One single deal with a large business with many decentralized constituents effectively gives it a single point of entrance to many local businesses.

But the significance of today’s deal is that it’s Spot Runner’s first move into the legal vertical. In TKG’s white paper released last week “Online Video: A New Local Advertising Paradigm,” Real estate and autos are examined for their early adoption and reletively heavy use of video advertising so far, when compared to other verticals. This is partially because of the high consideration items, pressure for leads, and high margins have made early adoption a necessity, and advertising spends somewhat inelastic.

The message to Internet Yellow Pages is that there are Yellow Pages traditional sweet spots that have some of these same characteristics such as some professional services (read: lawyers). So these could represent the biggest areas of opportunity to integrate video advertising with onlilne listings – similar to what Citysearch recently launched for local businesses (mostly restaurants) in partnership with TurnHere.

Spot Runner has beaten IYPs to the punch, but should be considered more a potential partner for its inroads to the legal vertical. In combination with Yellow Pages sales forces and existing relationships in this vertical, this could amount to a powerful ad bundle that serves to push online video advertising forward for IYPs.

Because of the elasticity of ad spending in this vertical (for the same reasons mentioned above for autos and real estate) and the affinity for video, this could be a great place for IYPs to dive into the game of local video advertising. Not to mention; video has the same vanity factor that we’ve seen drive lots of Yellow Pages ad spends. And let’s face it, lawyers can be a vain bunch.

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