Many television commercials and videos produced by startups are of low quality due to new entrepreneurs’ often-limited funds, often forcing them to use cut-rate producers and editors.
But Egypt’s Yellow Pages business database, as of last September, is hoping to expand its customer base by clearing a new path for entrepreneurs to create video media. Its e-media arm, the Yellow Media studio, will allow startup owners and entrepreneurs to produce videos at a much lower cost than the market price – usually not less than $1,500 USD.
“A video is an effective way to convey a marketing message,” says Mohammed Salah, Digital Media Manager at Yellow Media, explaining exactly what the initiative offers entrepreneurs. Startups will have the opportunity to shoot a short, high-quality commercial with the help of the company’s new Video Production unit. The video is then published and marketed online on YouTube and social media websites including Facebook and Twitter, at a cost starting at approximately $550 USD for 30-second videos, and just over $900 USD for 60-second videos.
We know that the shorter a video is, the easier it is for people to interact with it. In order to keep the video short – and the budget low – the Yellow Media initiative requires that the shooting not take more than four hours, and that it be done at one single, enclosed shooting locale. After a quick edit by the team, the video is then delivered to the client and published online on several platforms, including websites, mobile phone applications, and social media pages.
If the client wishes to further market the video, Yellow Media can promote it on relevant television channels and can work to increase the audience’s interaction with the video on social media pages, for an additional cost starting at $300 USD. The client can also choose to produce a commercial through the sole use of graphics and illustrations, further reducing the production cost.
Salah advises entrepreneurs to feature themselves in their videos, to increase customer trust, while emphasizing that the product itself should of course feature in the commercial as well.
Small and medium enterprises, including factories, started using the service even before startups.
Salah mentions that they had been working on the marketing-videos-for-less idea with a Canadian company, but they found the latter’s western character jarring, spurring him and his team at Yellow Media to start their own initiative.
Yellow Media started in 2009 as an online database affiliated with the parent company Yellow Pages. Now, more than two million users visit Egypt’s Yellow Pages website per month. The company also operates in other countries in the region, including Turkey, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE; however, the new Yellow Media studio service offered to entrepreneurs is only available in Egypt so far.
“Many still don’t recognize the need for video material to explain to the audience how their product could serve them,” says Theodore Amine, a video editor at the company who foresaw the greater demand for promotional video content when he started working on the service five years ago with Egypt’s Yellow Pages. “I expected a bigger demand from restaurants, for instance, but we ended up receiving more clients from the industry sector,” he says.
Yellow Media studio income is still limited to video production for customers; however, Amin hopes for the service to evolve later on into an online visual database that matches the Yellow Pages business directory, displaying for each entry the landing page, a photo gallery, and contact details.