local media insider

Upgrading to a multi-media dining guide

Alisa Cromer
Sample profile, the photo is actually a video. An easy upgrade that transforms the page.
The simplest ever dining guide is all video.

Media: Pottstown Mercury News, Pottstown, Pa.
Website: Pottsmerc.com
Owner: Journal Register Company
Key exectuive: Jared Semet, Online Sales Manager
Traffic: 300,000 UV's

Summary: Looking for a simple way to monetize and reinvigorate a dining guide? Pottsmerc.com created online video profiles for its advertisers and gained significant incremental revenues. Here's a quick case study on how they did it. 

Challenge: The Pottstown Mercury News, named "one of the ten newspapers that "do it right" by Editor&Publisher, was not getting enough traffic and revenues from its bi-annual print Dining Guide that sells for $500 a page. 

Strategy:  The Fall, 2010,  Dining Guide appears in print and online, however the online guide is paid-advertisers only, and is an alphabetical listing of links to profile pages that include the video and link to the restaurant web site.

Any advertiser buying a half page or bigger still pays the standard $500. However, now the buy includes the online landing page an video. The "print alone" product price was lowered to "a more reasonable" $250, but most advertisers want both. 

Sales reps filmed the video and sent it to a third party, Affinity, a JRC's preferred provider, to do the editing. Some of the videos were Panoramic shots, others showed the chef making dishes, the restaurant manager speaking into the camera or a guided tour. Reps are trained on basic video guidelines, such as using a Tripod (a must), and being cautious about recording speech when there is background noise.  Only a couple of the restaurants were finicky about editing, most were just happy to get the video and added value. 

The video guide is promoted on the home page of pottsmerc.com for 30 days, and the advertiser retains rights to use the video for other purposes, such as posting it on their own web site.

Results: The Dining guide gained $7500 in new revenues for each of its Guides,   and beefed up its tiny number  of advertisers to a respectable (for Pottstown) fifteen. The videos also led advertisers to be interested in other video products such as pre-rolls around news videos. 

Our take:  Video guides are a great way to reinvigorate special section that have gone a little stale by adding a multi-media component.

We also like the pricing component:  that the combo package was still the same price but attracted more advertisers, while a "print only" buy was less expensive. Advertisers perceive print as being "too expensive" and digital as "less expensive" so this is a good way to package multi-media.

Video provide better SEO than many traditional directories, and establish a new monthly revenue stream.

Dining guides can be rethought as digital package, including a mobile aspect, coupons, and other digital products as well as print. 

Many thanks to Jared Semet, Online Sales Manager, for sharing his experience. 

Alisa Cromer

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.

Journal Register, dining guides, video guides. dining guide, video guide, food