Three interesting posts from the past two days come together in interesting ways.
Sitting next to each other in my browser tabs are these: Steve Boriss’s Current hyperlocal news efforts are based on overly pessimistic revenue models. The collapse of local TV will change everything and a report from Lost Remote, TV news manager quits to work on blog, the blog being a hyperlocal news site.
Steve takes issue with the idea that there won’t be money for hyperlocal media that’s comparable to the money that currently flows into local media. He writes:
In fact, when you fully play-out the likely development of the Internet, there ought to be plenty of money to support full-time editorial hyperlocal talent. Local TV stations are going to be more and more questionable places for local advertisers to place their ad dollars.
(He develops the theme in the full post, and draws some fire in the comments. It’s all worth the read.)
Even without the “collapse of local TV” (which seems unlikely), Tracy Record’s decision to leave a paying gig as an assistant news director to push the blog, in partnership with her ad-selling husband, Patrick Sand, shows again that there’s some belief that small-scale, neighbourhood news driven media is workable.
Which brings me to the third post, Newspapers scramble to change the way they sell ads, a Wall Street Journal article pointed to be Jim Romenesko. Jim captured the interesting part of it with this:
… instead of tailoring their sales to local businesses, many publishers initially focused on selling ads to big advertisers who were already buying space in their print editions.
Makes sense. Dancing with them that brung ya, and all that.
But if newspapers are pushing for greater online ad sales but concentrating on the big advertisers (and big spenders), doesn’t that open the door for all sorts of hyperlocal publishers to nip in and start picking off the smaller, under-served advertisers? There’s not as much money there on a business-by-business basis, but there are an awful lot more smaller (potential) advertisers than there are big ones.
There are hyperlocal success stories and there are others that are struggling along fueled more by dream and desire than by cash in hand. These three pieces suggest that there’s potential for a lot more success, particularly as local media struggle to come to terms with the online world.
UPDATE: I was terribly remiss in not adding a pointer to Mark Glaser’s excellent Your Guide to Hyper-Local News.