Witnessing the Consolidation of Hyperlocal News into Media Companies
Examiner.com has accumulated 15,000 contributors nationally in developing a citizen journalist task force, and today announces the addition of NowPublic’s global citizen reporting staff.
Consolidation of hyperlocal news reporting by media groups like Examiner.com, CNN iReports, MSNBC (recently acquired Everyblock), and AOL’s Patch, together with the online local TV and news outlets, will gradually establish the infrastructure, or tapestry of local content sources.
(The stories in Examiner’s Bakersfield pages sure looks a lot like San Francisco!)
The Media’s Hyperlocal Business Model is “Big Market = Good”
With hyperlocal content sources in place, the challenge for media companies will be to execute a cost-containing and scalable hyperlocal business model that presumably doesn’t have thousands of sales reps knocking on the doors of local moms and pops. They will focus on cost effective national media buys. Will Home Depot blanket banner/Google ads nationwide on Examiner.com like they do in Sunday papers across the nation? That’s the likely initial stab.
However, communities that congregate around hyperlocal content are geographically intimate. They know each other through two degrees of separation and may begin to demand social exchange as a precursor to transaction. National ad buys may not be effective if there isn’t local follow through or customization of the campaign. In fact, co-op type advertising programs that bring advertising decisions down to the local level may be more efficient than one-size-fits-all national campaigns.
Mass Media is finding hyperlocal content sources, but not the hyperlocal business drivers
So where does that leave the rest of the local merchants who aren’t HomeDepot? Media companies may set up impersonal self-serve ad server applications for the SMEs who want to access their media traffic. More likely, SMEs that cater locally will discover they can tap into their community social media and use Twitter, Facebook and blogs to market and advertise their businesses for free.
Hyperlocal business models will be driven on-the-ground by local merchants. National business models need to tap into those “drivers”, the hubs of their communities, to be successful, but so far none of the national media companies have been courting the community business hubs, only the citizen journalists.