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The Infotainment Shift: A Roadmap for Small Businesses

October 12, 2023 David Van Beekum Season 4 Episode 136
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
The Infotainment Shift: A Roadmap for Small Businesses
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Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with David Van Beekum, the brain behind Tweva, a social TV network designed for small businesses. Imagine your local bulletin board transforming into a digital haven where businesses and influencers collaborate to showcase hyper-local content. That's what Tweva brings to the table. Van Beekum navigates us through this concept, highlighting how it breaks down traditional advertising barriers and connects small businesses to their customers in unique and engaging ways.

On the journey of exploring the power of social TV, Van Beekum shares his insights on how small business owners can wield the power of different platforms and influencers to their advantage. He talks about the shift from conventional ads to infotainment - a blend of information and entertainment, and how digital technology facilitates the path to wider audiences. This episode is a roadmap for small businesses stepping into a new era of content creation and audience engagement. Stay tuned for this riveting conversation that unravels the potential of social TV for small businesses.

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Hosted and produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning

Erin Manning:

Welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, gary Peugeot. The Dead Pixel Society podcast is brought to you by MediaClip, advertek Printing and IP Labs.

Gary Pageau:

Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast. I'm your host, gary Peugeot, and today we're joined by David Van Beekum, who's the co-founder and creator of Tweeva, the world's first social TV network for small businesses. David's coming to us from Orlando, florida. Hi David, how are you today?

David Van Beekum:

Great Gary, how are you?

Gary Pageau:

Good Good. So, david, I don't know what social TV is and how it can benefit businesses. Can you define that for the audience in terms of you know, I know what social is, I know what TV is, but how were they put together to help someone's local business?

David Van Beekum:

Well, I'm glad you don't know about it yet because I wrote a patent on it. So this is a first kind of concept of bringing back the old TVs. Now, if you think about when you walk into a bar or restaurant or anywhere publicly, those TVs are kind of one way they are just producing content and somebody chooses what's on it and it's sending that information to you and hopefully you are a good target demographic. And when we sat down as Tweeva is our partners, we said, hey, can we change a legacy product that lives out there in the community? And you know, we kind of came up with the idea of TV and we make a social TV. That is kind of like a digital community bulletin board. If you think about it, you walk into a business, you might put your business card up on that bulletin board, but the business cards are kind of they're old. Now, right, people are touching their phones and doing the.

Gary Pageau:

RFID Digital business cards right.

David Van Beekum:

Digital business cards. Yep, so Tweeva was kind of a combination of a local TV channel for your city, a digital display for the business and then also this social piece where it allows people to interact with the TV.

Gary Pageau:

I understand that, but I'm still not making the connection. Is this like someone putting a display in their business? And this is sort of like, instead of CNN or Fox News, you've got Tweeva running.

David Van Beekum:

Yeah, that's exactly what it is. It's a digital box or it's a smart TV app and the business owner can say, hey, you know, I do maybe show maybe some soap operas or the what is it other channels that people will see at local businesses. Yeah, you know, do I show that? Or can I show something hyper local? Right, can I find content about my town? And it also allows others to add content so local influencers can come in to your business and create content for you. Because, like we were talking about before, it's sometimes it's hard to break through the barrier of creating content for your business for the first time.

Gary Pageau:

Yeah, yeah, that is one of the discussions I've had. I was just recently at an industry conference and there was a lot of talk about that and you know, in our segment, the photo imaging segment, there seems to be a bifurcation in the age right. You've got folks in their fifties and older and then you got a younger demographic coming in. The younger demographic folks totally get it right Creating content there into the 30 second TikToks and all that. You know maybe the business owners or the general managers or the folks like that are the ones who are like. You know, I grew up in an age when TV was more passive, so creating TV is not something that comes instinctively to them. First— Can you talk about the benefits of this? You know why is something like this better than you know taking out a 30 second ad on the regular TV with local channels?

David Van Beekum:

Well, I'm glad you touched on that passive side. The TV is more passive because, if you think about it, most of your customers, when they have the need, that's one thing right. There's a percentage of people that always have the need and then a percentage of that percentage is actually going to take the action, sure, right. So the passive side, most small businesses have never had that chance to become that passive advertising, I would imagine. If you think about a luxury watch, what's the name you think of?

Erin Manning:

Oh Shinola, I mean I don't even know that one.

David Van Beekum:

I don't know what I think most people would think like Rolex, because I'll go with Rolex, because I don't know your brand. But so Rolex is, you know, taking out billboards right In different places and different communities, and that's more passive advertising. They're not saying these people are probably searching for luxury watch, they're just being passive now.

Gary Pageau:

And usually got some celebrity like Pierce Brosnan or Brad Pitt or somebody like that having the watch. And you know it's really more of an image advertising.

David Van Beekum:

Right, right. And so that was not really a thing for small businesses, because TV is expensive. So if you've got $3,000 or $10,000, $3,000 to $10,000 for local commercial, small businesses aren't going to say, hey, I'm going to just risk this on a 30 second ad, right, hopefully it'll brand myself. They might try other means go to a farmer's market and sit there at a table. And so we said can we create a TV network that allows those small businesses to create content so that they can show in their local community and be on that passive side? And so that's what we've created with the Tweeva Network is allowing those small businesses to create content for the local network and others that are in it.

Gary Pageau:

So let's say it's not, but your idea is not to do it ever, a standpoint of we're having a big sale this weekend. Run on down to Joe's shop and buy the latest gadget.

David Van Beekum:

Yeah, yeah, we don't want the spammy. It's not like that old version of TV, right, it's I'm the best person. Call me because I'm the best. And you can see this. Like you said, a different generation's coming along saying I just want to know you personally, like, are you a good person? And that's why all of those ads that you see on the traditional TV are a little bit more, less polished now and you're just seeing somebody behind a computer or somebody walking around and it's a little bit shaky, it's a little jittery and people are taking that as an ad. They're wanting to watch this social aspect of it and I kind of call it. In between you have short form content and then you have long form content. I would call that mid-range content where it might be a three to five minute clip, like this old house. Take, for instance, like that old show, right, how many people would watch this old house, see something restored and think, oh, that's great, I wish that contractor was in my town. So is this a way that a contractor could pull out his phone? Right, he's got a 4K phone in his pocket. Record a couple of clips of him fixing a sidewalk or a roof for putting something on someone's house and now he can be shown in the local community and it's not about him being great, but it's just about that passive advertising. Next time you think, oh, I need a contractor, okay, yeah, I know I've seen this guy somewhere and that would be the way he's branded. So we call it branding a business as a community expert.

Gary Pageau:

Sure. So here's a question. All right, people are already doing that, right? You know Facebook and Insta and all the other stuff. Is there something inherently different about seeing it on a bigger screen, on a wall, which is kind of the TV experience versus your phone or your computer? Is that kind of your differential?

David Van Beekum:

Yeah, it's, because it's a bigger screen, it's out in public. So, especially if you're business to business advertising let's say you're in a barber shop and you're trying to drive traffic to your, let's say, pizza place branding that on a TV in public is much easier than getting somebody off of the couch, right, because they're out and about walking around the town and they're like, oh man, I'm getting hungry. Okay, that pizza does look good. And okay, up to this point you only had an option of either going to the TV station or repetitive ads from franchises, right, that's what you're going to see on TV Pizza Hut, domino's, right, all the other big boys that have that budget to advertise to the local community. So, yeah, it does. It does play a little bit different of a role Most of the time. If you're advertising on your phone through Facebook, google, etc. You're, you're most likely you're doing it based upon a search, right? So you're looking for the plumber. We're trying to create content about those local people and businesses in the community and then just give that to them to watch.

Gary Pageau:

Is there something in your system to improve that SEO though? So if they are searching, you're going to come up. Is there a link there into the Google for?

David Van Beekum:

that or yeah, we do have also a public side, so some of the content that we push out will be pushed out to YouTube and all the other major platforms.

Gary Pageau:

Yeah, so they're going to get that benefit as well. So let's talk a little bit about the mechanics of this. What is your background? What made you think, man, I've got a revolutionized TV?

David Van Beekum:

Well, started from. He started from behind the computer. But at a very young age, like I started thinking about I go man, I. I had a before I don't know what was before VHS, but there was like this shoulder camera with a wire and a power supply that you plug in with a three pronged wire. Previous to my first, my first VHS, but I had a 16 channel audio Mackey board in my room. I had a video studio very young age and I loved it. My dad had this old equipment. It would sit in the in the garage or down in the basement, and so I built out a little studio and my sister would be the announcer, she'd do the news. This was not like a regular thing but to me, I guess because I worked in this for so long, I just thought, oh yeah, that's easy, like I could do that. But it wasn't at that point. It was. I was building apps and databases and mobile applications and then our co, the co founders, and we're all sitting down saying, can we fix this TV? And the way that happened. We're like sitting at the restaurant going like how dare that pizza company you know the franchises how dare they advertise in your restaurant? And we just laughed and Joe said could we create something similar but have the business owner control it? So that's kind of how it came up to be so.

Gary Pageau:

So, for example, if I'm in Joe's pizza and I'm not going to see other content from my competitors in the local community, correct?

David Van Beekum:

Oh, that's kind of nice. It's non competitive and it's like no food to food. But it can be food to doctor, right, food to dentist obesity epidemic today.

Gary Pageau:

Maybe food to doctor would be an ad. You just think actually if you're done at the local buffet, you're unplugging your arteries at Joe's burger shack, you know, call Dr Smith fora might be a good pitch for the doctor you know like hey you know, we got a great customer. All right. So do you have like a digital marketing background? Or is it just because you said you have patents? Obviously you're technically adept. I'm just curious, you know you said you had your own studio as a kid, kind of the the, you know the basement producer kind of mentality. Now everyone can do it. How did you grow on that path, I guess?

David Van Beekum:

Well, the that media stuff took a break, like I, you know, I had the first firewire card, I had the first ZV firewire cameras and you know the external microphones, the XLR, all that stuff. But I took a break into when it started really going 4k and I said, oh man, you know so much data and you got to focus on a couple of things. So I went with databases and custom software development and so that kind of took a backseat to it and and building the back end of how do we control a T one TV. It's not a community of TVs. You're giving somebody access to that TV. There's a lot of back end information that has to happen. But now recently, with everything going back to, oh, now we have to create content for all the TVs, it's sliding back into that media side of creating content.

Gary Pageau:

So if you're a local person and I run into this a lot with folks who are looking at creating content they're a small business person. They're you know, they're in the day to day of their business. They're not thinking strategically right, they're worried about the person showing up for their shift. They're worried about, you know, the equipment working properly. They're wondering how they're going to make payroll that month. So they think, well, but I got to do this, I got to do some sort of marketing, social whatever. And they have trouble coming up with content ideas, right, Because it's you know, I find a lot of small business people are, you know, well, people aren't really interested in that, they're really interested in that or this part of the business. So, it's you know, they tend to become what's dismissive of what they do. Do you coach them through that sort of process or is that something you know you can help people with?

David Van Beekum:

Well, we're actually building a university which will be recorded content of how to create content, and the reason the reason probably why they feel that way is because they can feel the differences in the way the content is being created since 10 years ago we were talking previous to the show. Is that what the TV was and what they're seeing now? Of like, why would you like that kind of content? That's silly, or it's and that's that infotainment? Right, Right. So there is a learning aspect to the way that content has to be created for that type of consumption. Right, Like, I had a shower valve go bad and so I was looking at is it the shower valve? Is it too much pressure in my house? I don't know. So when I'm flipping through it, I see this guy hitting his shower handle with a hammer and I just think who would make? Like, wait, I watched it. Why would I watch it? Because it's that silly. Why would you? Okay, that's infotainment. He hit the hammer, then he replaced the valve in it. I don't think you'd run that on a TV commercial. Right, right, right. So that's the thing. Can you get somebody's attention sitting at a bar it's 11 o'clock at night and someone's like hammering away at a dumb valve and then he said hey, this is a better brand you should buy, Right? You're gonna remember that one Now. I don't think you'd put 10 grand on it, though, Right, Would you put 10 bucks on it? I'd probably test it for $10. And so that's the idea is. So back to your question of how do you create that content. It's a mix of you're looking for that influencer that knows how to create content. And I think even it's different on each platform too, right, yeah, so if you're creating content for Facebook is a little bit different than Instagram, a little bit different than TikTok, but that's something that you should probably find either a local media company for, or get trained a little bit before you pick up the camera and start creating content.

Gary Pageau:

Or even in a lot of cases, like I know several of the and people in the photo industry. You know retailers and whatnot who, if they're not doing themselves, they have a trusted member of their staff doing it. But you know, what's interesting is I've seen a lot of that kind of stuff where the trusted member of the staff does it. You know, there's someone who you know and it takes something for a business owner to allow someone else to be the face of the company, at least for a piece of it. So you got to let your ego go a little bit on some of that. But it's almost like you got to tie it to the business objective. And that's one of the challenges I see with that sort of content is you know that frontline person you know is excited about something, but it's you know, and maybe even just a fringy weird thing, it's not some of that's driving the business, whereas the business owner knows, hey, listen, I need to sell 10,000 prints this week. That's what I need to do. That's why we kind of talk about so you have to create the content around that, around the business objectives.

David Van Beekum:

Yeah, yeah, that is definitely true and that's depending upon that network of what the kind of first part of the video you're trying to hook them into watching the video then you can touch on. This is what I have available. But again, business objective in an ad is a little bit different than infotainment, right? So the infotainment side is you're kind of passively branding, right? You know, if you're the community expert you're talking about the problem you're talking about, I have a solution, contact me. So I always use the example of a chiropractor. A chiropractor is going to say, hey, when you sit in your office chair, make sure you don't slouch down Right. Make sure if you're sitting in your car, you're not leaning to the left or to the right on long trips, right? So can he talk about these things to the audience? And then he becomes the first person that he's thought about when you have that problem. So is there a little bit of selling in there? Yes, but at the same time you can say a lot in two to three minutes to entertain and to keep their eyes. You're not looking for that quick scroll and click like you are in social media. You're looking more for that person to stay watching for a few minutes, but yeah, it's hard for the business owner to jump into that.

Gary Pageau:

Yeah Well, so when will the university piece launch? You're building up the university, so you've got. You bought some land in Orlando. You've got some reforms.

David Van Beekum:

It's a virtual one.

Gary Pageau:

Oh, it's virtual oh virtual, virtual.

David Van Beekum:

Yes, oh, here it is.

Gary Pageau:

You're going to have to have the Tweet, but Football team or something.

David Van Beekum:

Yeah Well, maybe, maybe one day that would be neat, that would be neat. But yeah, that's, or we know we're going to connect people with influencers and the influencer can come into your business.

Gary Pageau:

Okay, there you go.

David Van Beekum:

Hey, contact his local person. They're going to come in and get that right shot. You know, I always say it's not like you don't have a 4K camera in your pocket, but sometimes it's hard to take that first step. Is the lighting right? This doesn't look good. I think the whole entire audience changed because we couldn't produce good content. So now they're like okay, if you can't, if nobody can produce good content, just start showing this mediocre content, and a certain amount of people like it, so they go with it, All right because they may not have an option.

Gary Pageau:

You know an option because the algorithm is deciding what you're seeing right as opposed to your platform.

David Van Beekum:

And people like local too, though right that's. I think at some point that industrial side goes away and we become more local again. Sure, you know.

Gary Pageau:

Oh yeah, and I think there is post COVID a shop, local mentality that is definitely happening, where people want to support local businesses and I always recommend folks to you know capitalize on that as much as possible.

David Van Beekum:

Yeah, yeah. I think after the technology of the zoom and all these other things, we're going back to hey, if I can make my money online, I can be digital. Can I move somewhere to a small town and bring my money and be the more you know affluent side but still retain you know the connections I have digitally but still enjoy those small town feel Sure.

Gary Pageau:

Well, and the other thing is is with a lot of digital technology, you know, especially in photo, with online photo and things like that, you can be a national or regional player locally. Right, I know a lot of you know camera stores who are, you know, serve a several state area because they can ship as fast as you know the big players can and deliver, you know, just as well as they can. So that is definitely something that you know they can capitalize on is have the local feel but actually compete for national business.

David Van Beekum:

That's exactly what. What we're looking to do is help those local, local businesses on the on the digital side.

Gary Pageau:

I'm just curious what made you focus on small businesses? Because usually when people think startup, they think I want, and they want to be in the branding space they want oh, I want Pepsi, I want Coke, I want Taco Bell, I want those big brands to be involved. Exactly, that'll help my IPO and all that fun stuff. What made you think of local businesses as the people you wanted to focus on?

David Van Beekum:

Well, the co-founders were directly owners of about 20 small restaurants. Okay, so they they figured how can we help the small guy? And then when we lived through COVID we've, we even got stronger with that idea and said let's help those local businesses. And so our slogan is for the locals. So it's kind of like you know, google has that don't be evil slogan. Everybody laughs when I say that. It's like we don't believe it, but it's like everything we do, we think about okay, if we help somebody with something, is it for the locals? Can it help the locals? If we help with social media, can it be for the locals? And that's really what we thought. It would be a great place to start. Yeah, maybe eventually we want to connect with some bigger companies, but it'd be really neat to look over wherever town you go to. If you go to the beach and you stop in a little shop somewhere and you're seeing a local beach and a local you know coffee shop on the screen, not plastered with the biggest franchise out there, right Right, because then we're driving that small business, exchange the local relationships, because everything's based upon those relationships. So that's kind of how it started out.

Gary Pageau:

And you know the reality is is if you look at the world, most businesses in this country are small businesses. They're not the big corporations.

David Van Beekum:

That is true. That is true. It is a large. I don't know the exact percentage, but it's high.

Gary Pageau:

Yeah. So where can people go for more information to investigate whether Tweeva and social TV is something that they'd want to be interested in? And now, will the university be available for non-Tweeva people? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

David Van Beekum:

Yeah, you know, somebody asked that too. I think it should be. I think it should be some sort of free content to teach people how to create that content. But you know there's always a block. Though even if I teach somebody how right we were talking about that, it's still hard to get in front of the camera. So I think most people are gonna just say, hey, send an influence over to my place, I'll pay him 50 bucks for the couple shots and they're gonna come in and make my business look fantastic. You do that a couple of times. You're gonna get more confidence, and then you'll be able to say, hey, I can do this either on a daily or weekly basis, but that's undetermined yet, but I think it probably will be free. I'll push it out to YouTube and if you wanna find us, it's anywhere Tweeva, and so any of the social medias, or Tweevacom, and how would you spell that? T-w-e-v-a. There you go. We bought this nice short domain name because this has to be something simple and easy. You know, google, google, well now, metta, right Now it's only four letters. The other guys, but yeah, if you're a business and in your work you wanna become that local expert in your community we'd love to chat with you and help you connect into the network and start producing that content. And if you're an influencer, same thing. We'd love to connect you in with those local small businesses and start displaying your content everywhere, even video podcasters think about the amount of content that's created every day is crazy. Half of us don't even see it.

Gary Pageau:

Right.

David Van Beekum:

So we're gonna We'll see it on Tweeva.

Gary Pageau:

You gotta go hard here at the end.

David Van Beekum:

They're gonna see it on Tweeva, that's right. That's right.

Gary Pageau:

All right, listen, david. It was great to talk to you. Appreciate it meet. You Enjoyed hearing about your commitment to small businesses and what the possibilities of Tweeva are. Thank you so much and have a great day.

David Van Beekum:

Thank you so much for having me, Gary. It was a lot of fun to be on the show and we'll see you next time.

Erin Manning:

Thank you for listening to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. Read more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at wwwthedpixelssocietycom.

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