Following the lead of its British cousin (see Foxtons Does Automated Vodcasts) Foxtons USA has launched video podcasts for all its listings on this side of the pond too.
The technology they’ve built allows these to be automatically generated for each of their listings in their database. They include all the photos from the MLS and a computer generated reading of the listing description.
The fact that these are automatically generated for each and every listing in their database is what’s impressive here (it certainly isn’t the quality). And with this offering, Foxtons throws down the gauntlet to the other big brokers to step up their game too.
What this signals to me is that mass production is now a reality in the real estate slideshow and virtual tour game. I suspect in no short order, agents will eventually some sort of slideshow as part of a standard package from their brokers.
So what happens when you’re competing with a product whose price is Zero?
Well, it means the product has becomes commodity, and the margins are razor thin.
Companies like MLPodcast who produce similar shows — better quality, granted — do it manually and as such, are in danger. Technology is bound to close the quality gap eventually.
Real Estate Shows, who also have a very nice product by the way, are probably safe for a little bit longer.
If more and more of the big brokers adopt this sort of technology, and standardize this type of offering, companies offering Ken Burns style slideshows are going to have to evolve in new direction. Full blown video (see Real Estate Video Shoot Out) seems to me to be natural next step.