A few weeks ago, my boss forwarded a voice mail from a vendor who produces and hosts custom B2B videos. They asked to speak with her, and so as any good manager would do, she delegated the call to me.
It wasn’t the first time that I heard from this vendor. I had spoken with them months earlier and was thoroughly unimpressed with their Old-Media offerings. Their business consists of recording corporate videos, creating custom web pages around it, and then protecting that video from being seen by the masses by putting a registration system around it — all for a princely sum.
As a dutiful employee, I made the telephone call. I don’t even think I finished explaining who I was when the sales guy launched into his speech. He talked about how he wanted to do more business with us. He talked about how important it was to have professionally developed corporate videos, and how they would directly impact product sales. He explained how my largest COMPETITOR was using his services — as if that had any relevance to what WE were doing. That’s when I got to talk.
I told him that I’m pushing my company to do MORE videos, that were SMALLER, LESS staged, LESS produced, and LESS hyped. Instead of thirty-minute videos recorded in THEIR pristine studio, I was encouraging five-minute, personal videos recorded in OUR offices. I told him that instead of a SCRIPT, I wanted folks talking from their HEARTS. Oh, and while I was at it, I didn’t want our content hidden behind a registration system — I wanted it to be “downloadable” for free. And heck, while I’m at it, I wanted RSS Feeds of the content.
The silence at the other end of the phone was deafening. The sales guy took notes and told me that he’d get back to me.
A few days later, he called back, enthusiastically explaining that his company was adding new services in tune with the things that I spouted during my New Media diatribe. He asked if he could come by to discuss these new offerings. In the back of my mind, I didn’t believe him, but when I checked with my boss she said, “Sure, let ’em come in and tell us what they’ve got.”
The meeting happened yesterday and it didn’t go so well. The sales guy came in with two others, who proceeded to twist my vision into their Old Media model. They offered to host MY videos on THEIR network for $995 per video plus $100 per month (1 year subscription minimum). While they were at it, they’d throw in a custom web page and hide my videos behind their registration system. The sales pitch continued. Unlike other free services like YouTube, they promised to CONTROL our video. Their “value proposition” was to offer us Control over:
- who can view our videos (registration required)
- what viewers can do with them (like nothing).
- how they can view them (streaming to their desktops)
It was all about control. Control THIS for $995. Control THAT for $100 per month. Control, control, control, blah, blah, blah.
“And what about RSS?” I asked.
“Isn’t that downloadable?” one of the reps asked incredulously. “What if your competitors got hold of it? “Don’t you want to control who sees your videos?”
“No,” I said. “I’d prefer to have people watch them.”