Posted July 30, 2010 4:44 pm by with 1 comment

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directorWith cable nearly obliterating all signs of local programming on TV, one news outlet is taking it online with an interesting marketing plan to boot. In an interview with HyperlocalBlogger, James Macpherson details his plans to air 16-hours a week of original programming on his local news site Pasadena Now. The programming will include a daily morning show with news and interviews and live streaming of community events.

In order to pay for the programming, Macpherson is looking for sponsors who are willing to fiance the shows, not with cash, but with promotion.

“Our objective is to create specialty audiences. For example, to work with the Pasadena Humane Society to produce a weekly ‘Pasadena Pet Channel.’ We won’t charge the PHSSPCA, but we will require that they must promote each show with an email blast to their 5,000 members. We will then sell commercials to local pet stores and vets who can be guaranteed that the show’s audience will perfectly match their target audience.”

This looks like a win-win all around. The sponsor does the advertising leg work and the businesses get their names put in front of a tightly targeted audience. The key here is finding local entities with a mailing list that makes the production cost worthwhile. I could see a local mommy group sponsoring a parenting show with ads from local baby stores, beauty pageants and daycare centers. How about a high school sports show that includes all of the parents in the district in a mailing?

With phone books languishing on the front stoop and local newspapers going the way of the 8-Track, it’s tougher than ever for a mom and pop business to find advertising space at a reasonable cost. Says Macpherson:

“I am extremely optimistic. Our prices will be reasonable, our costs low, and let’s face it, most people love the idea of being on TV.”

Even if the “TV” is actually a computer monitor or iPhone.

What do you think of the idea of trading production for promotion?

  • For me it sounds like a good deal, something close to a barter… a little more sophisticated maybe. But its a GREAT idea. I will certainly try something like that, on a different (local) scale.