Everyscape, a provider of software that creates interactive panoramic video tours, called “webscapes", has an interesting play for local media companies. Unlike most video feeds, the user can control where they go, whether just down the street, or through walls into a shop or restaurant.
So far the company has partnered mostly with merchant associations using its own sales force to sign up the merchants. But there is no reason media companies can’t do the same thing, obtaining video content for “experiential” guides like dining and nightlife, or for hyper-local communities.
This is hard to capture in a static screen shot, so for a quick walk-through go to Harvardsquare.com and click on Maps and Directions. From there you can click on Eye level Tour and "drive" down the street (careful, you can go sideways and upside down) or pick from the featured businesses, all of which have a paid “webscape” that lets you enter their building (oddly right through the wall) and look around by holding your cursor on the arrows.
A simple webscape, ie one single 360 shot, sells for $400 a year, and some customers buy more if they need to, say feature two rooms such as the dining room and the bar. Not a lot of money, but a great cheap way to create video.
In Boston where the company is headquartered, Everscape has a sales force. So it partners with the merchants association and sells all the ads, keeping the revenues. They also maintain sales force in San Francisco.
For local media sites the partnership is revenue share based and can be used to set up verticals such as restaurant guides, or create hyper-local hubs such as a guide to the clubbing district or other “mini-downtowns”. The webscapes can also be embedded in other directory products, and the advertiser also appears on the Everyscape site. The Boston Phoenix has used the guide for StuffBoston.com and New Hampshire Magazine is also selling it as part of a restaurant guide.
StuffBoston.com places the webscapes on restaurants in the “Find a restaurant” by neighborhood search results. Restaurant listings have an additional “Look Around” button that links to the "wescape".
Everyscape was founded in 2002 as a portal called Supertour, focused on the hospitality industry by providing online experiential tours of hotels and other destinations. It re-branded as Everyscape in 2007. “We are in the business of recreating the real world online, ” says Rebecca MacQuerrie, director of marketing.
New clients in California including the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce, Sausolita Chamber of Commerce, and San Mateo downtown association, who put the Everyscape map on their site and gives introductions to members. No reason why a local media company couldn’t make the same arrangement with merchant associations in hyper-local areas of town, especially since the one-shot panoramic videos are easier to create than interviews or commercials.
The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and MediaExecsTech, developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine, to showcases perspectives from around the world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.