Watch out here they come

WellcomeMat signed a big deal with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World this week.
Companies within the network of about 550 brokerages each get a video channel for their website and some seed videos to begin to populate them. WellcomeMat gets its own “channel” where it can begin to connect its network of videographers to broker clients.
This is a big win for all parties.
As someone who has been banging the real estate video drum for years, I’m encouraged by this development. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think this year will be a big one for real estate video.
I’ll go out on a limb and speculate a bit, but here’s why I think we’ve finally arrived at a tipping point.
The iPad. iPad usage has increased the demand for multimedia elements on the web. Video consumption is one of the big use cases for tablet devices. The form factor is perfect for this type of “lean-back” experience.
Certainly, looking at my own use, I find myself actively seeking out video content when surfing on my iPad. Websites that lack that element feel flat and lifeless – much like the brochure-ware websites of years gone by.
The market. As we bounce along the bottom of a rough real estate market, many buyers and sellers remain on the sidelines. While searching active listings is still the bread and butter of real estate websites, for a buyer who’s not actively “in the game” researching where their next purchase might take place is important.
Neighborhood and community videos fill that void for many web consumers. And brokerages are finally starting to wake up to the opportunity.
So where do we go from here?
I think we’re going to see more and more brokerages begin to implement aggressive video strategies in 2012. Early leaders like Houlihan Lawrence have set the production bar high and others are now racing to catch up.
This all points to…
An acquisition of WellcomeMat. As Brian has noted, there is a war going on right now for talent in the real estate technology space. The big tech companies are also on a ravenous hunt for new products they can bring to brokers and agents.
Move bought SocialBios, Zillow snapped up Diverse Solutions and MarketLeader bought Sharper Agent.
A real estate-focused video platform might be something worth picking up too.
As I noted above, online video is largely a blue ocean right now – for brokerages to serve up to consumers and for the tech players to support the brokerages in this effort.
The WellcomeMat team has been around this space for long time and have built a very respected brand. And the Leading RE deal is a significant milestone on the road to more widespread adoption.
This is going to look mighty attractive to the right buyer.
Let’s check back in in another 12 months and see where we’re at.
[Disclosure: Houlihan Lawrence and Move, Inc. are 1000WATT clients]