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Tune In Your Small Business - TV Can be an Affordable Option
By: Brenda J. Trainor

Many small businesses have avoided a ‘video’ component in their advertising efforts as TV just seemed too expensive and complicated to incorporate into a marketing mix.  But, these times, they are a-changin’.  Television, especially alternative video, has new stature in world of communications.

If your business is in need of a boost to its image as a good corporate citizen, or if you have a special advertising message that needs to find its audience, consider some of these alternative local television outlets.

Short form video is one of the fastest growing features of the Internet, enabled by services like You Tube, recently featured as Time Magazine’s Invention of 2006. This video sharing web site, which began offering services to the public in May of 2005, was sold to Google late in 2006 for $1.65 Billion (yes, with a ‘B’).  Now on this site, people watch over 100 million video clips and upload tens of thousands of videos every day.  In less than two years, the world of video and television has taken a dramatic turn – it is now more accessible and more local than ever before.

But You Tube isn’t the only option.  Other user-driven video services exist, like Revver; it shares its site-based advertising revenue with the person who submitted the video, so there are new revenue opportunities available for creative types. 

Both commercial and non commercial outlets offer some interesting marketing alternatives that small business owners should consider.

Sponsorships and Underwriting

For non-commercial messages, there are many local television organizations in the San Gabriel Valley that can help match your business with their channels.  Most cable access centers provide both production and distribution services. See what is available in the towns your business serves.

Look at Community Media of the Foothills as one example.  Under a new membership program recently launched at this Monrovia non-profit corporation, a business can join the organization for just $250, and that membership includes production of a short spot to be shown for up to a year on their community cable channel, KGEM.  The content of the spot must be non-commercial, and this provides an excellent opportunity for a business to say, “hey look at us, we care about our community.”  The non-profit also has other opportunities for more sophisticated video productions and greater exposures.  And this organization is also pioneering on-demand viewing of their programs and videos at their web site.  Check them out at

Another local television corporation in the area is Pasadena Community Access Corporation with its community channel Pasadena 56.  Here, a local business may choose to produce its own program for very little cost. And again, there is a requirement that the content be for non-commercial or educational purposes.  But businesses and associations, who have expertise to share, can reap benefits from this kind of exposure.  You can find out more by visiting their website at and see the real-time video streaming of their channels.

    Big Media is Going Local Too

The importance of localism isn’t lost on the big players, and for news stories or advertising, you shouldn’t forget about the cable companies such as Time Warner and Charter Communications. Also, besides regular programming cable offers opportunities to reach the non-English audience in their language. For additional information on breaking the language barrier visit

This new focus on localism can be found on CNN Headline News on Time Warner’s systems in the Southland.  Entitled “Local Edition,” the short format news interview show airs twice an hour, and invites local officials from government, chambers of commerce, and civic organizations to discuss issues of local importance. On the Time Warner digital systems, you can access some of these features on their Video on Demand service.  For more info visit

Brenda J. Trainor is the President of Frontier Trail, Inc. a communications technology consultancy based in Monrovia, CA.  She can be reached at