Local Television GM’s that struggle with Internet sales are making some questionable moves. Frustrated by the lack of digital leadership inside the TVB and NAB, some Broadcasters are mulling the move to cancel their memberships, dump the expensive research reports, and simply outsource their greatest asset: local sales.

DataSphere is one of companies benefiting from this frustration. This technology, hyper-local, & call center company has been a welcome relief to TV managers who must hit their digital budgets without any solid idea on how to accomplish that feat. As readers to this site recall: I think the DataSphere concept is brilliant for DataSphere stockholders. This solution is somewhat better than a warmed over WorldNow, Inergize, or IBS solution. But the TV managers who outsource to DataSphere are exhibiting short-shortsightedness and weakness in local sales development.

Here’s an email I just received about the use of DataSphere.  ( read background story on Meredith Web & TV sales fail )

On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 12:51 PM, Anonymous <contacttayloranon@yahoo.com> wrote:

Greetings,

I read your piece about how Meredith has partnered with Datasphere.  I am very familiar with Datasphere, and honestly I found most of your comments to be…true.  Granted, your article was short, but it’s almost unsettling that outsiders are able to pick up on the essence of the situation and lay it down in 100 words or less – like a boiler room pitch. Would you mind taking this piece a little further and dig a little deeper?

For starters, it is true that Datasphere runs call centers, which could be mistaken for boiler rooms.  It’s a numbers game, and calls need to be made, but Datasphere keeps it fairly pleasant. However, having had sales experience elsewhere, aren’t all call centers “boiler rooms”?  I mean, don’t all call centers (even those run by local media) sell as aggressively as possible?   Is the cost of the ads justified?  I don’t think so, but then again, I don’t run a local business either.

Your article mainly appears to criticize media station management for their sellout.  That part is also true.  However, take a look at the content of today’s local media.   Over the years, it appears that the sellout actually started with the editorial content.  The AP stories are bad enough, but the “local stories” don’t exactly define journalism either.

So what is a local media outlet to do?  Their energy seems to have vanished long ago.  Is it any wonder that they jump at the quick income offered by Datasphere and other companies (yes, there are others).

Well, that’s how I rationalize it.  That’s how I go to work.  If you think I’m looking at this the wrong way, feel free to respond.  I will read it.
…Anon

MY RESPONSE: ( edited )

You took the time to create a fake yahoo acct. You’re either a high level local media exec, or a frustrated media employee? But I appreciate your email anyway.

The main theme of my Datasphere post was to warn local media of how they’re killing the golden goose. ( local business relationships & strong sales teams )

Agreed – Datasphere ‘quick and easy’ money is attractive, but when you outsource local sales…you’re admitting that your local sales staff stinks with new business development. Plain and simple.

Management should immediately fire the Bozo who suggested using DataSphere for sales. ( or the Yahoo Consortium, or Centro, or WorldNow for that matter )

In regards to content/editorial/programming.…local business is much more interested in ringing their own cash registers…than automatically placing advertising with traditional media outlets.

That’s why local business is using non traditional, online-only solutions more often. ( Google, Reach Local, YP.com, etc )

Thx.

Mel