Spot Runner Gets Up Close and Personal
Local and national video ad producer Spot Runner announced today that it will acquire video production network GlobeShooter. This will bring the company better scalability and capability to deploy up to 1,200 professional videographers to far-flung locales, and shoot video on site.
This also brings Spot Runner beyond its low-cost/low(er) personalization product model to also include a higher price point/higher customized video ad offering. This is similar to TurnHere’s decidedly more personalized local video ad option. TurnHere, incidentally, told me last week that it will conversely expand its product bundle toward Spot Runner’s historical niche (my characterization) of lower cost/higher automated video production capability for SMBs.
So the clear trend here is that video production companies, as their services grow in demand, are seeking to expand their product lines to include many levels of service and price points to increase penetration across the SMB marketplace (and national brands looking to geotarget video advertising). This makes sense in the SMB marketplace where a wide range of businesses have varied ad budgets and proclivities for video advertising (think restaurant vs. dentist, vs. roofer).
“In the past, we’ve received requests for creative that is more unique to a specific locale,” says Spot Runner Cofounder David Waxman who previously started Firefly Networks in 1995 (creators of Passport, before it was sold to Microsoft in ’98) and PeoplePC. “Demand comes from all sizes of customers. Smaller local companies have asked for the capability, while some larger businesses who are localizing are doing the same thing.”
For the same reason, we’re seeing IYPs, in their burgeoning local video ad efforts, experiment with different pricing options in this early stage in the medium’s life. Indeed, the varied price points being expanded by the Spot Runners, TurnHeres and EZShows of the world likely represent an effort to appeal to IYPs and local search publisher partners (such as Citysearch) with a greater degree of flexibility and salability to a wide range of local businesses.
Spot Runner could go this IYP route as it continues to grow its online distribution (it’s been traditionally rooted in cable spot advertising). Its sales strategy so far has mostly included national firms such as Coldwell Banker and LexisNexis that wish to offer video production capabilities to their far-flung localized constituents. Working with online publisher partners such as IYPs could similarly represent a single point of entry to a large and fragmented base of SMB advertisers. One difference, however, is that Spot Runner sees itself as more of an agency — with its own customer relationships — than a technology vendor to IYPs.
“Our mission isn’t medium focused. We have a tradition and a reputation in television. But our real internal focus is advertiser success and whatever we can do to provide the right suite of products to make their phones ring,” says Waxman. “As we discover other vehicles that work, such as video on landing pages or videos out in ad networks or submitted to YouTube, that’s what we’re going to do.”
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I don’t think Spotrunner is doing very well. They had a number of lay offs and lots of people left on their own. Their competitor in the discount category CheapTVSpots is doing well and has just opened another office in London to celebrate its 147th international award. Cheap TV Spots makes custom TV and web ads for the world market and does not charge a premium for air time. Template ads, by comparison, appear to be a fad that advertisers are getting wise to. That’s because template or canned ad companies generally charge a hefty premium for media placement. Also template ads truly are terrible for branding.