Local Interactive Strategies

Video and the blue ocean

Update from my last post. The Baltimore Sun is doing some very interesting work in video advertising. It’s not really about advertising per se — as in getting a message in front of a consumer who’s not necessarily looking for it —  but about enabling local businesses to establish a video presence, which can then lead to video advertising.

Check out the demos here.

It’s a good example of a local media company going after a line of business that nobody’s in right now. Essentially, the folks at create custom video microsites for clients, hook the microsite into the URL for SEO purposes, and then obviously try to get the client to advertise the microsite on their site. It’s profitable. Is this something a TV station would get into? No, it’s too downmarket. Is it something a video production company would get into. No, for the same reason. Might a wedding videographer get into this? OK, maybe. But the folks at the Sun are there first, and they have the ad programs and SEO muscle to make their clients successful online.

The Sun’s program reminds me of  the concept outlined in the book Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgneit.  Basically the subhead tells it all:
“How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant.” In other words, you can be like a shark trying to outdo the other sharks in a feeding frenzy,  turning the ocean red.  Or you can  swim to some blue ocean water and dine in peace.

Of course, you’ll swim around in the big blue ocean for a while before you find dinner, so conserve some  resources for the hunt.

But it’s a concept worth thinking about for troubled media companies: what are the  assets you have that can be used to “create uncontested market space” and make it yours? In the case of the Sun, their assets included some basic video skills and equipment, some excellent web design skills, lots of customer contacts  and excellent search-engine rankings. They’ve used those assets to develop a blue-ocean kind of business.

As they say in those video ads on the telly: “What’s in your wallet?”


July 11, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Great post. Video is really beginning to take form for newspapers. We have done some great things with video in Cape May and our content management system, 6-degrees, provides our future partners with a strong audience development tool as well as a future revenue stream.

    Comment by Stan Gauss | July 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. Great post and thanks for introducing me to the Sun’s offer. I’ve been encouraging publishers to “become the agency” for exactly the reasons you outline. When NBC announced they were getting into the ad business at the end of 2006 (, I thought it would resonate, but the Sun’s foray is one the first I’m aware of in the newspaper space. Cheers to them.

    Comment by Scott Baker | August 28, 2008 | Reply

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