Is the future of local media hyperlocal?

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delivered to #mac296 journalism students at Sunderland University on March 1, 2012

Text of Is the future of local media hyperlocal?

  • 1. Is the future of local media hyperlocal? @markwoodward head of newspaper websites Johnston Press

2. Johnston Press Life is LocalBut is it hyperlocal? 3. FalkirkFalkirk Herald Peterborough 4. PUBLISH Falkirk Edinburgh241NEWSPAPERSBelfastPUBLISH Leeds211 NEWS WEBSITESDublin PeterboroughEMPLOY OVER5,000 PEOPLEPortsmouthEMPLOY OVER2,000 JOURNOS 5. 209 ofthese One of these 6. Is the future of local media hyperlocal?What I do know is that the next generation ofthese leaders will be something involvingmobile, local and socialEric Schmidt, CEO Google, 2011 7. Define hyperlocalHyperlocal refers to a burgeoning number ofnews websites that cover a geographicallysmaller area than local, regional, or nationalmedia. Josh Halliday, SR2 Blog 2009Hyperlocal news is not about journalism in bigcities. It is about neighbourhoods, hamlets,villages, towns and small cities.Robert Washburn, Canadian academic 8. Is this hyperlocal? 9. Hyperlocal? TV region - BBC City The Guardian Postcode SR2 Town Easington Hewer Parish council 15-mile radius By interest northeastgolfers, wearboxing Device postcode gazette, nOtice 10. There is no consistent definition Local boundaries are not clearly defined and varyaccording to: Individual perception Location Size of population e.g. regional boundaries can be consideredMY national in Scotland, Wales and Ireland COMMUNITYMY LOCAL AREA As a result, definitions of community vs local vsregional media differ by individualMY REGIONMY NATION UK Source: Ofcom qualitative research 200610 11. Common Characteristics1. More localised both in terms of geography and types of content - than more mainstream media outlets such as commercial radio, TV regional news, BBC regions, or regional and local newspapers.2. Often seeks to fill gaps - geographical, special interest or demographic audiences hyper-local producers see as unserved, or under-served, by mainstream media.3. Diverse sources of funding (if any). Including: advertising, subscriptions, grants from public and private funding bodies and in-kind funding from volunteers.4. The value and role of community media goes beyond the provision of content, with specific value often seen in the social capital generated by its production.5. May be single issue-based, or too small for commercial operators to merit ROI. 12. Typology Conclusions No single definition; comes in many different shapes and sizes including: Professional - e.g. Citizen run/produced Hybrid such as those produced by professional journalists/academics e.g. Aggregator/Automated e.g. Their purposes can also vary widely. Therefore there is no such thing as a typical hyper-local site.Each one varies in tone, quality and ambition. 13. Drivers to hyperlocal Ubiquity of information Lower barriers to publishing Lowering costs of storage Technology Super broadband/3G/wifi hotspots Mobile growth Advertising towards mobile Long tail economics More you know about an individual the more youcan meet their needs 14. Top 5 hyperlocal issues to watch 15. 1. Finding a proven business modelTo open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.Chinese Proverb 16. Context: key business challengesFor small scale hyper-local operations, like many listed earlier, key challenges include:1. Discoverability.2. Audience perceptions of quality.3. Lack of single / group editorial vision and voice.4. Funding very few commercially viable.5. Inconsistent coverage i.e. there isnt one everywhere.6. Most hyper-local content is online so 30% of the population are immediately disenfranchised. Big business doesnt necessarily find it any easier 17. 1.1 - Closure ofThe Guardian has announced the closure of local news websites (Leeds, Cardiff, and Edinburgh).As an experiment in covering local communities in a new way, it has been successful and enlightening. Unfortunately, while the blogs have found engaged local readerships andhad good editorial impact, the project is not sustainable in its present form.Meg Pickard, head of digital engagementSource: years of talk, hyperbole and failed experiments in hyperlocal journalism, which has been championed by many including the Guardian Local staff, there remainfew concrete examples of formalised such efforts becoming commercially sustainable. GNMs decision may be one more indication that there is no future for industrialised hyperlocal journalism. PaidContents Robert Andrews Source: 18. 1.2 Expansion of AOLsAOL expanding its Patch US local news network to 837 sites across more than 20 states.Part of editorial expansion following Februarys $315m acquisition of the Huffington Post. Source: sites have also introduced blogging for the first time, with each Editor being taskedwith recruiting 10 bloggers from their community as part of integration into Huff Po. Thats8,000 bloggers. Editor in chief Brian Farnham, gave them a week to achieve this target.Source :, Paid Content estimated the cost of Patch at $30m per quarter. Source: claims their websites costs 1/25 of the cost of a daily newspaper in the same town. Source: 19. 1.3 - Lessons from TBD in the USHyperlocals like TBD: More hype than hope ( )said failure caused by:1. Small audiences;2. Big expenses;3. Small revenues; and4. Big losses.Rick Edmonds Six business lessons from TBDsearly demise:1. Branding,2. Effective Ad Sales,3. Filling an existing need,4. Pedigree does not equal strategy,5. Building out big is a risk and6. Fail Fast. 20. 1.4 Sky going local Tyne and Wear Web and mobile only 13 journos No advertising Brandexpectations? 21. 2. Advertising"Advertising is on its deathbed and it will not survive long, having contracted a fatal case of new technology.Roland T. Rust and Richard W. Oliver - The Death of Advertising 22. 2.1 Ch-ch-ch-ch-ChangesOld models switch to digital The digital marketplace is already twice the size of the total print market and some ten times larger than the segments of the print market Yell traditionally addressed.CEO, Mike PocockSource: models emergeHyper-local media buying agency Oxbury Media, has built up an ad network of 10,000sub local newspaper publications and sites representing a 10m+ audience.Offers to broker advertising, by postcode, region or even village in print and online. 23. 2.2 Rise of hyper-local advertisingIn the US, local advertising is predicted to be the fastest growing ad sector BIA/Kelsey forecasts U.S. Local Digital Ad Revenues to nearly double to $42.5B by 2015. Up from $21.7B in 2010. Digital media forecast to represent 23.6percent of all US local advertising by 2015. Local Search Advertising Revenues to reach$8.2 Billion by 2015. By 2015, 30 percent of search volume willbe local in nature. Sources: and 24. 2.3 Huge excitement over local deals 25. 11845hl ttp://wwwhttp://wwwBut not everyone thinks theres potential: Hyperlocal audience is hypersmall audience Heading from an article covering new research by Borrell Associates, a consulting firmthat tracks local advertising in the US. In its report, How Unique is Unique?: Gauging the (Actual) Size of Local Web Traffic,Borrell surveyed 16 local websites and found overall that: 30% of a local websites visitors dont live in the market, 20% of page views are delivered to fly-by users who wont come back for a year, if ever,and the average unique visitor count overstates the number of local users by a factor of five,meaning a site that sells local advertisers on a half-million monthly uniques is inthe end probably only delivering 100,000 local users. Cited at: 26. 3. Location, Location, Location I like to drink to suit my location. Tom Whats New Pussycat Jones 27. 3.1 - Location Meets AdvertisingLocation Based Advertising Predicted value $1.8bn by 2015, up from est. $43m in 2010 (ABI Research Sept 10). Uses a mix of GPS, Wi-Fi, and /or Cell-ID depending on the product or service, theregion, the consumers, and the location accuracy required. Targets users with relevant local information, and ads for local businesses. Google, says such ads already get 8% more clickthroughs than basic mobile ads.Already live in the UK O2 customers signed up to O2 More receive messages pushedfrom Starbucks and LOreal, regardless of handset or contract,when they pass through locations pertinent to the companies. Service is opt in. Launched 15/10/10. No more than one message a day. 28. 3.2 - Location Meets News In May Google announced the launch of a new U.S English edition feature for mobilescalled "News near you". The service works for Android or iPhone users, who once they have registered their location can use adefault menu to tailor own news feed. Read more: Engine Land notes:Google isnt the first to offer local news like this.Bings iPhone app also has a section for local news underthe News tab, and CNNs iPhone app also offers local news(and weather) via the My CNN tab.Source: Example created for someonein Topeka, Kansas 29. 3.3 - Location meets SocialLocalmind is an iPhone app that allows users to send questions and receive answers fromfellow users about what is going onright nowat a given location.You check in with services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places you becomeavailable to be sent a question about that location.The service announced at the OReilly Where 2.0 conference that they would soon beavailable on Android. Theyve also created an API.Source: of the Localmind community, can earnkarma points when they answer questions