Friday, December 11, 2009

For hyperlocal to work it must find a sustainable business model

I firmly believe that hyper local is the way forward for journalism to survive,but it,as with the rest of journalism needs to find a sustainable business model.

The problem that it has to solve is balancing the needs of the small targeted audience with those of those of the advertisers.One doesn't necessarily lead to the other

The secret words though are niche and connecting.A successfully targeted audience can provide income to advertisers for a relatively small cost.

So where does this go?

According to Paid Content

there’s even hints of a local business model emerging. But the delivery of quality post-code level news across most of the country still a long way off, and sustainable revenues and—dare we say it—profits are even further.

Sustainabilty of course is not just about profits,its about developing the business.Coming back to the advertising,as any salesman will tell you,it not just capturing the account,its cultivating it and maintaining it.The costs of maintaining revenues are often disproportionately high.

There is also the people cost.The single journalist running the site will need help.Yes in the initial stages crowd sourcing will work but people

a) will lose interest

b)will not continue to give something for nothing

Thus for it to be sustainable,it must have a succession plan,training local people in content as well as technological skills and/or looking at partnerships with other organisations

So a long way to go and as Paid content continues to say

In short, 2010 will not be the year of hyper local—these are the foothills, the beginnings of localised online publishing. But the signs are auspicious: increasing levels of online literacy and broadband connections mixed with more inevitable local newspaper closures mean it’s natural that readers—and advertisers—will shift to new outlets. Whether anyone will be making a real living from it—as a mainstream publisher or a start-up—seems unlikely in the near future…

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