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Taking A Swing at Local Advertising

June 11, 2006

vcmike

"Next generation" advertising has been an area of keen interest for me over the last few years, and one way or another has had something to do with pretty much every investment I've made in the Digital Media sector.

Most of the activity in this sector has focused on large national advertisers.

Recently, however, it seems like a bunch of startups are starting to go after the more elusive, but gigantic, market for local advertising.  Most would agree that there is lots of opportunity for whoever figures out how to crack the local advertising nut, and take a chunk of the billions of dollars spent every year on Yellow Pages, local broadcast and local cable advertising.

A bunch of early efforts in this vein were failures, but my hunch is that this time around there are going to be some pretty big winners. Spotrunner (quick and cheap ads for local cable), Jingle Networks (ad supported Directory Assistance) and MerchantCircle all are early stage companies doing some pretty interesting stuff with local advertisers.

I think I am willing to take a bet or two here.  Stay tuned to see what happens…

And, more importantly, let me know if you are doing something interesting with local advertising on the digital platform, and/or if you know of interesting projects/people/research I should know about. Feel free to comment or send me an email at mhirshland@polarisventures.com.

Thanks!

2 Comments

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  1. June 25, 2006

    Thank for the info.

  2. Lil Dawgg #
    September 19, 2006

    Spotrunner’s largest established direct competitor Cheap-TV-Spots.com produces better quality custom TV ads for less than Spotrunner.  Unlike Spotrunner, CheapTVspots.com allows local and national airings of both 30 and 60 second ads.  CheapTVSpots also will produce a web-sized version that their clients can distribute or post wherever they like (not so with Spotrunner).  The other difference is that Cheap-TV-Spots.com does not tie the client down with long term contracts.  Cheap-TV-Spots has the reliably shorter 1 week turnaround time and generally offers more flexibility during the important newco start up phase.  This is because of the rock solid Cheap TV Spots production speed, their lower local or national airing cost and short-term air time availability.  This flexibility allows TV to work better with web and print advertising during stretch-your-startup-budget time.  Cheap TV Spots was considering a bid for Spotrunner because Cheap TV Spots is semi-automated and just needs a few more pieces to go full auto.  Actually, Spotrunner is only partially automated; it just looks automated.  There is a Euro-company that may have piece of the puzzle. too.  That’s called Spotzer, but that’s in Beta and probably has no USA partner or active USA production or air time purchasing component at present. Are these NY ad agency killers? No, but they’re disruptive in that they’ll eat the lunch of in-house cable and broadcast production facilities. That’s something that would likely be okay with hundreds of cablecasters and broadcasters since they make most of their money on air time, anyway.

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