Shaw Suburban Media, for example, expects its 21-month-old ShawVideoWorks production unit to generate more than $140,000 in revenues this year — double its 2008 contribution — according to J. Tom Shaw, vice president of advertising.
Shaw owns about 45 publications in Illinois and Iowa.
Shaw said the types of local businesses using SVW runs the gamut from auto dealers and fitness facilities to commercial builders and restaurants.
In addition to commercials, Shaw provides music and computer graphics services.
And the price is right, Shaw said. SVW charges about $2,000 for its package of video business profiles, about a third of what competitors charge.
"We know how to edit, frame the commercials and we know how to make someone feel comfortable in front of the camera," he said. "We make it affordable so if mom and pop want to put a video on their Web site they can do it.
The production unit produces HD-quality long-form videos that range from commercials to video business profiles.
Other services include music and advanced computer graphics. Shaw will even make DVD copies of the video for distribution.
SVW is housed at Shaw's Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill. Shaw equipped the studio with a high-end HD camera, green screen and associated video editing equipment and software.
The ShawVideoVorks studio houses equipment for editorial and commercial production.
Standard turnaround time from start to finish is four to six weeks, from contract signing to delivery of the finished product.
"We've been able to get in and explain to our advertisers how video would be helpful for their marketing strategies," Shaw said about SVW. "If you're a local business and have a Web site you can use a video because it enhances your online effectiveness."
Shaw said that, overall, traffic has been growing exponentially for the newspaper group's sites.
"Local newspaper sites have the highest Web traffic in their markets so we have both news and ad space on our sites," he said. "And video ads are an effective way of using that ad space."
Branching out employment videos
Businesses using SVW include auto dealers and gyms.
The paper (daily, 99,971; Sunday, 121,754) is working with online video service company Reel Centric to create and showcase recruitment videos on its CareerBuilder page.
"We wanted to build a continuing connection between our print ads, CareerBuilder job packs and online video," Grover said. "And since the time we launched it we've seen a 43 percent increase in year-over-year sales."
She said the newspaper collects the ad material, sends it to Reel Centric and in about 48 hours the video is ready to be posted.
The video ads contain stock photographs, graphic elements and scripts designed to differentiate among companies searching for the same type of employee — say administrative assistants.
Grover said the videos attract a lot of interest, with each one averaging around 30,000 views in the first quarter this year.
The newspaper is also looking at putting together a strategy to offer video services for the real estate section sometime in the near future.
"We started in the recruitment vertical and can look to build out in different areas, whether it's specific to a special section or for real estate," she said.