Meredith TV Hyper Local Fail. DataSphere Wins Again.

Meredith TV admits they can’t sell local web. The broadcaster recently handed off one of the most critical pieces of their business to the crew of  20-somethings at DataSphere; the tech company/call center in Bellevue, Washington. WATCH VIDEO BELOW.

Meredith Television joins the now infamous group of local media companies like Gannett, Raycom and Fisher Communications, all of whom outsource a big slice of their local internet sales effort to DataSphere Technologies.

DataSphere is one smart company. They created a cheap and easy, hyper-local solution for hyper-short sighted, local broadcasters. It’s a perfect offering for TV general managers and Internet VP’s that just can’t figure out how to sell local web. That’s too bad. Digital marketing is the fastest growing expenditure for local business owners. Local broadcasters need to keep control of that action, since small business is the life blood of local media.

As we reported last year, (read here) (and here) these types of deals might look good on the surface, but they’re deadly. (quick web revenue with no disruption of sales force)

Broadcasters who drank the DataSphere Kool-aid, were given awards and honored for their lapse of fiduciary responsibility. “Innovator’s Awards” were bestowed upon those who let outsiders build primary relationships with local clients. Gotta admit, that certainly is innovative if the goal was to fully automate a TV station sales force.

What’s the real deal about how Meredith and other broadcasters use Datasphere? The local TV station outsources web development and local sales to DataSphere, where they represent the local station…to local advertisers.  A boiler room operation that cold calls your local business community….using your call letters…..hard selling them on questionable, online offerings that have a too high chance of churn.

We hear the howls from local Meredith sales reps. No doubt, they’re heads are exploding as they learn of how Meredith corporate hired a room full of green horns to destroy the very relationships that the TV sellers took decades to build up.

Oh yeah. It get’s worse. DataSphere has the primary relationship with the local client, and keeps a VERY LARGE percentage of the revenue. Sweet.