Hyper-Local Media Update:
Emerging activity and evidence April 11 - May 11
A personal take on things of note in the past couple of months
Damian Radcliffe, 16th June 2011
Comments and feedback welcome:
This is an update to a number of previous packs looking at the UK and US hyper-local scene:
These slides are by no means intended to be comprehensive, but cover some of the key hyper-local
developments I’ve spotted in the last couple of months.
Everything here is in the public domain, but these slides endeavour to bring examples and stories
together; as well as possible include some things you may have missed.
All content is referenced so you can go and read original articles for yourself if you want.
As ever, I’m sharing this to get feedback and suggestions – so do send them!
Any omissions, errors or mistakes are mine, and mine alone.
Thanks for reading!
Ten other useful things from the UK
1. Guardian Local closes
The Guardian announced it the closure of its local news websites (Leeds, Cardiff, and Edinburgh).
• Meg Pickard, head of digital engagement, wrote that:
“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 and had good
editorial impact, the project is not sustainable in its present form.”
• Sarah Hartley used Storify to show some of the reaction to the story: http://bit.ly/mcDskp
• Whilst writing on PaidContent Robert Andrews commented:
“Despite years of talk, hyperbole and failed experiments in “hyperlocal” journalism, which has been
championed by many including the Guardian Local staff, there remain few concrete examples of
formalised such efforts becoming commercially sustainable. … GNM’s decision may be one more
indication that there is no future for industrialised “hyperlocal” journalism.”
2. Huff Po UK coming July 2011...
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the
Huffington Post news and opinion site, has
confirmed that it will launch a UK edition in July.
She made the announcement as the site,
launched a Canadian edition, its first outside
The president and editor-in-chief of the
Huffington Post Media Group said:
“This is the first in a series of our international expansion, the next being in England in July, then we’re
going to Latin America to launch in Brazil. Our goal is to keep growing, expanding in all areas,
and producing a real 21st century media company across all platforms and on every subject.”
As part of AOL's $315 million puchase for HuffPo earlier this year, Arianna Huffington
retained editorial control of HuffPo, as well as assuming responsibility for AOL's existing sites,
including tech blog TechCrunch, citizen-journalism site Seed, and local-news site Patch.
3. Councils and Newspapers
• The Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle has signed a six-year deal with
Hammersmith and Fulham Council to publish public notices and other advertisements.
• This follows the authority axing its fortnightly H&F News, a move strongly campaigned
for by the paper, and the publication of a new publicity code for English councils which
came into effect on 1st April 2011.
• A BBC report found that councils in Scotland have cut 'millions of pounds' of
newspaper recruitment advertising in the past three years, following 2008's launch of
dedicated website myjobscotland.gov.uk.
• The article found that previously jobs were 'routinely advertised' in key titles such as
the Herald, Scotsman or the Press and Journal, but this was no longer the case,
adding to the revenue declines facing some publications north of the border.
Local Newspaper Week is:
“An annual celebration of the strength of regional and local press in the UK.”
In an article written to mark Local Newspaper Week Prime Minister David Cameron wrote:
“Local newspapers are hugely important to our country - for two good reasons.
First, they strengthen our democracy, holding the powerful to account.
Whereas national newspapers can focus on the bigger picture, it’s local papers that often
really analyse the detail of what central and local government is doing and the
impact their policies have on the ground….”
“Second, local papers are hugely important in helping to build a bigger, stronger
society. There is a massive gap between the state on the one hand, and the
individual on the other, and local papers help fill the space in between,
galvanising readers into action. That could be by campaigning on local issues,
highlighting local clubs, groups, businesses and societies and encouraging
people to get involved, or championing local people who are playing their part
to make their community a better place. By shining a spotlight on this good
work, local papers persuade others to do more - and I want to see more of it.“
5. Top Ten local newspaper facts (Part One)
1. There are 1200 regional and local newspapers and 1400 associated websites in the UK.
2. Local press is the UK’s most popular print medium, read by 38 million people a week.
3. Local newspapers (60 per cent) are the first media people turn to raise awareness of a
local issue or problem.
(TNS-RI Omnibus/NS 2010)
4. Thirty four million unique users rely on their local newspaper websites every month.
5. More than 70 per cent of people act on the
advertisements in local newspapers.
(GfKNOP/the wanted ads I)
Top Ten local newspaper facts (Part Two)
6. More than 6,100 local newspapers are sold or distributed in the UK every minute.
(Advertising Statistics Yearbook)
7. Local media employs over 30,000 people including 10,000 journalists.
8. Eighty-five per cent of local newspaper readers in Britain say it is important that their
local paper keeps them informed about local council issues.
(TNS-RI Omnibus/NS 2010)
9. Newspaper (30 per cent) and TV advertising (56 per cent) have more impact upon
consumers than magazines (17 per cent), radio 15 (per cent), and outdoor (15 per cent).
10. Local press is the most effective media channel for generating word of mouth
(IPA Touchpoints 3 2010)
6. Regional press being left behind?
• A new report from media analysis firm Enders, suggested regional press consolidation is
'inevitable‘. It predicted ‘even fewer massive corporate entities, perhaps as a few as one
or two within a few years’ and a ‘long tail of small players’.
• This was all in the context of a media bounceback which has seen ‘regional press left
behind’ with the report clearly stating: ‘Growth in advertising for TV and the largest
popular newspapers has not spread to local media’.
• The regional press has suffered ‘declines in recruitment, auto and retail in 2010 despite
colossal falls the previous year’.
• Since 2006, the largest businesses have suffered 20% decline in annual profits .
• Moreover: “Publishers have engaged in various brand extensions, yet digital and other
revenues remain stubbornly low.”
Sources: http://bit.ly/gEhafj and http://bit.ly/lMbP5G
7. Local content in other languages
A while ago I asked for help on twitter to help identify some local websites with content in other
languages. I’m grateful to a number of people for their help with this including:
@foodiesarah @mike_rawlins @getgood @sarahkatenorman and others listed below. Thank you!
The Turkic Language Forum in Leeds is
produced by the Azer Turk Association
Yorkshire. It came out of a Talk About Local
session with a local UK online centre. The
group hopes the website will promote the
integration of the Azerbaijani community into
mainstream communities, whilst also helping
preserve, promote and teach the Azerbaijani
Turkish language raising awareness of the
language in the wider community.
A Polish website for people in and around East Riding - In Wisbech the Rosmini Centre, a local
http://www.polacygoole.com/ - offers a range of original community venue features material in Polish
content which can be translated into other languages. A as well as in English on its website. The centre
new site for the Polish community in Hull and the provides a range of services to meet the needs
surrounding area, has also recently launched - of the local community, with Home-Start
WWW.HULL.INFO.PL – audiences can post material and Wisbech and Fenland Volunteer Centre each
read about what is happening in the UK and Poland. having offices at the Centre.
A number of websites can be found in the Devolved Nations which are solely in indigenous
languages, or feature these languages alongside content in English.
• In Wales, Welsh language sites include: Pendroni, Melysion, Fideobobdydd, Canol Barth, Quixotic
Quisling, Adenydd Celtaidd, Daflog, and Fel Dagrau Yn Y Glaw. The recent Wales Blog Awards sought
to showcase the best blogging content being produced in Wales (not all of it in Welsh). The judges
awarded the Best Welsh Language Blog to Blog Menai with the Pugnacious little trolls video blog
being the runner up in this category.
• Further afield Cainnt Mo Mhàthar offers videos and audio recordings of Gaelic speakers from Nova
Scotia, as well as information about the Gaelic language and culture of that region - with links to
Gaelic communities and resources in Scotland such as The Gaelic Village website. This site provides
photographs, illustrations, rare books and documents, short films, audio clips, interactive games,
comics, and more, in both Gaelic and English.
• TalkIrish.com focuses on free learning, acting as a home for students, teachers, and speakers of the
Irish language from all over the world can come together to share thoughts and ideas.
• The Sabhal Mòr Ostaig College (SMO) - an academic partner within UHI, the prospective university
of the Highlands and Islands – provides a list of links to over 700 classified links to pages in and
about Irish Gaelic including; newspapers, magazines; radio and television. Another page provides a
colourful link to Gaelic on the Web
Ofcom has licensed a number of Community Media Press and the BBC
stations which includes content in languages other than bbcalba.co.uk provides online news, weather,
English and which targets communities for whom learning resources and youth pages in English
English may not be their first language. and Gaelic.
Examples include: Radio FAZA in Nottingham which As does: bbc.co.uk/radionangaidheal - the
targets the South East Asian community and which website of the national Gaelic radio station
broadcasts in 9 different languages or Raidió Fáilte in from the BBC
Northern Ireland which is aimed at the Irish language
community. The Scotsman provides News in Gaelic:
Most of these stations have websites, some of which
offer content in other languages, links to websites of The West Highland Free Press -
interest to their target www.whfp.com features a Gaelic columnist
audience (which again amongst news from the Highlands of Scotland.
may include non
English language The Inverness Courier - www.inverness-
material) as well as courier.co.uk – is a local paper which includes
opportunities to listen Gaelic content, available online .
live or download
• n0tice.com is an online community notice board. It is very much in beta mode:
“we are still actively developing it, so please forgive us when we make mistakes.
let us know what works and what doesn't, as this is your space. “
• Active Locations: London | San Francisco | Oakland | New York City
• Once you land on the phomeppage you’re asked for your
location, the website then feeds back content for near you.
• Like Foursquare’s Mayor analogy, n0tice has an ‘Editor’
badge which users can gain. As Matt McAlister notes in a
detailed summary of how the project evolved:
“The first person to post in a particular city becomes the
Editor of that city. The Editor can then be ousted if someone
completes more actions in the same city or region.”
Read more: http://bit.ly/ilTEgY Thanks to Rob Dale for the heads up on this.
9. Yell results reinforce the rise of digital
On 17 May the Yell Group announced their Full Year results. Highlights included:
– Group revenue of £1,877.6m was down 12.4%.
– Digital media revenue grew 9.4% to £457.0m or 24.3% of revenue (2010 – 19.6%).
– Print revenues fell by 18.6% to £1,317.1m.
– Digital media advertisers grew by 4.5% to 902,000.
– Print advertisers were down by 9.4% to 1,195,000.
– Profit after tax of £46.7m was down £0.1m.
• Over the year, Yell generated over £260m of cash and reduced net debt by almost
£330m. It is currently undertaking a strategic review of its operations. The results of
this review are expected to be published in early July.
“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 Pocock
10. UK ‘Yoof’ sceptical about LBS
A study by youth marketing agency Dubit found about half of UK teenagers are not aware of
location-based social networking services (LBS) such as Foursquare and Facebook Places,
with 58% of those who had heard of them saying they “do not see the point” of sharing
Not surprisingly, Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley
has a different view. He told the Reuters Global Technology Summit
(NB: this wasn’t in response to the Dubit survey) he believes the location-
based social network is:
“In a position to do something revolutionary for local
advertising”, adding: “I think that we will hit our
inflection point the same way that Twitter did.
I can imagine getting to 100 million users.
I can imagine us exceeding that.”
Ten useful things from across the Pond
1. Unpaid bloggers sue
The Huffington Post and new owner AOL are the subject of a $105m lawsuit by a group of
bloggers, who have described themselves as “modern day slaves on Arianna Huffington's
plantation". The group, led by blogger and trade unionist Jonathan Tasini, are unhappy that
their unpaid work was not recognised financially when the site was sold for $315m.
Tasini, the author of 250 unpaid posts, said: "People who create content ... have to be
compensated" for their work.
The Huffington Post said any class action lawsuit was "completely baseless", adding: "Our
bloggers utilise our platform to connect and ensure that their ideas and views are seen by as
many people as possible.”
Sources: http://bit.ly/huN1Ql http://bit.ly/fGr1WY and http://tgr.ph/gwmaDc
“Bottom line: the vast majority of our bloggers are thrilled to contribute - and we're thrilled to have them.
Indeed, we are inundated with requests from people who want to use our platform.
People are looking to join the party, not go home early.”
Arianna Huffington quoted in the Telegraph: http://tgr.ph/fNzcjU
2. Patch keeps growing
AOL is to expand its Patch US local news network to 837 sites across more than 20 states,
with the launch of 33 new sites and the hiring of around 50 new employees.
The new hyper-local sites are part of AOL’s major expansion of editorial operations following
February’s $315m acquisition of the Huffington Post.
Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, hailed
the expansion as:
"A way for us to leverage this great network to bring in real-time news.
All voices will be welcomed and encouraged if they clear the quality bar - it's not a free-for-all.“
Patch sites have also introduced blogging for the first time, with each Editor being tasked
with recruiting 10 bloggers from their community as part of integration into Huff Po. That’s
8,000 bloggers. Editor in chief Brian Farnham, gave them a week to achieve this target.
Source : http://onforb.es/eP2pbA
3. Hyper-local = fastest growing ad sector
• BIA/Kelsey forecasts U.S. Local Digital Ad Revenues to nearly double to $42.5B by 2015.
• This figures is up from $21.7B in 2010.
• The firm’s newly released U.S. Local Media
Annual Forecast indicates digital media will
represent 23.6 percent of all local advertising
• BIA/Kelsey Forecasts Local Search
Advertising Revenues to Reach $8.2 Billion
• By 2015, the firm expects 30 percent of
search volume will be local in nature.
Sources: http://bit.ly/ijQb0I and http://bit.ly/hVPtgC
4. Yatown goes into open beta
xxx Yatown aims to tap into the estimated 80% of
U.S. disposable income spent within 10 miles
of the home.
“Yatown was born out of our own frustration in
connecting to our neighborhoods online.
We had to locate obscure mailing lists or antiquated
and poorly maintained websites.”
“There is no easy way to announce a garage sale to
the neighborhood online, no easy way to promote
the school fundraiser other than using a mailing list
Neighbours will automatically be and no easy way to reach out to the neighborhood
grouped into neighbourhoods without and campaign for school-funding measures.”
any special set up required of them.
(CEO Christopher Nguyen)
The services is currently available to Source: http://bit.ly/iE3ncG
192,000 neighbourhoods across the US.
5. Local Mind expanding
Localmind is an iPhone app that allows users to send questions and receive answers from
fellow users about what is going on—right now—at a given location.
You check in with services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places you become
available to be sent a question about that location.
The service announced at the O’Reilly Where 2.0 conference that they would soon be
available on Android. They’ve also created an API.
Members of the Localmind community, can earn
karma points when they answer questions, or
check in, eventually moving up the ranks from being
a “Newbie” though to the highest level, (Level 4)
where you become a “Localmind Legend”.
6. More power to your mobile
Ovum analyst Carter Lusher estimated the US market for geographically targeted mobile ads
could be worth “north of $3bn” by 2014 as marketers have access to richer data.
“There are simply more and more devices shipped every day that can be targeted.”
Location-based media company
JiWire released a new report
on the mobile shopping trends
among the "on-the-go“ audience
(users of tablets, smartphones or
laptops away from their home /work)
79% of these users are
comfortable making purchases
on mobile devices, even for items
costing over $1,000.
7. Insight into the Local Deals audience
8. Groupon to go public ASAP?
• Groupon has filed an S-1 hoping to raise $750 in its initial offering. The document
shows how quickly the group has grown including:
• Increasing revenue from $3.3 million Q2 09 to $644.7 million Q1 2011.
• Expansion to 43 countries as of March 31, 2011.
• Subscriber base up from 152,203 as of June 30, 2009 to 83.1 million.
• Merchants up from 212 to 56,781.
• But, an article on Short Logic notes:
“Given they’re currently losing a staggering $117M per
quarter, despite revenues of $644M, they’ll be burning
through that cash almost as soon as it hits their account.
At the moment, it’s costing them $1.43 to make $1, and
it doesn’t look like it’s getting any cheaper.”
It concludes: “buyer beware”.
Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/kw3F1Q
9: Google News News about Google
• Google’s bid to digitise the world’s newspaper archives appears to have ceased.
• The existing archive of around 2,000 titles will remain online and still searchable, but
the search giant has reportedly pulled all development resources and will not be
scanning any more titles.
• See the archive here: http://news.google.com/archivesearch
• In an interview with TechCrunch, Marissa Mayer, Google VP of Location and Local
Services “explained how Google’s location strategy is supported by two pillars: Places
and Maps. Instead of launching numerous new location-focused products, it sounds
like Google will keep integrating them into these two apps.”
• At the Social Loco conference she also outlined two new local features: a tablet version
of Google Earth for Android, and a new extension of Places called Google Business
Photos. The latter allow users to explore the interiors of select businesses in the US,
Japan, Australia, and New Zealand (with the pictures taken/commissioned by Google).
Visit http://tcrn.ch/k9RKaM for more.
News near you
• In May Google announced the launch of a new U.S English edition feature for mobiles
called "News near you".
• The service works for Android or iPhone users, who
– once they have registered their location – can use a
default menu to tailor own news feed.
Read more: http://bit.ly/kf2eGU
Search Engine Land notes:
“Google isn’t the first to offer local news like this.
Bing’s iPhone app also has a section for local news under
the “News” tab, and CNN’s iPhone app also offers local news
(and weather) via the “My CNN” tab.”
Example created for someone
in Topeka, Kansas
10: New from Facebook
US websites including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Huffington
Post have added a new Facebook
‘Send’ button, which enables users
to privately forward stories to
groups, individual friends, or email
addresses. The social network said
the plug-in could benefit publishers
by enabling users to send links
without navigating away from
their site. (NB: rolled out in the UK too.)
Facebook Deals which launched in Europe earlier this year is now live in Atlanta, Austin,
Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco. Director of local Emily White said:
“We're building a product that is social from the ground up. All of these deals are things you want to
do with friends, so no teeth whitening, but yes to river rafting.” Source: http://reut.rs/gMmpvl
Bonus feature: two stories from Europe
• Gootip is a new local Q&A site originating from France.
• Unfunded from VCs et al, it was founded by ex-PriceMinister alumni Mathieu Bidart,
Eric Gagnaire and Thierry Sebba “out of a small garage in the South West of France”.
• Users ask and answer questions in context of a particular city, town or specific location.
Google loses appeal in Belgium
• Google has failed to overturn a ruling banning it from offering links to local newspaper
stories in Belgium after the Court of Appeal in Brussels upheld a 2007 court order that
the links represented a copyright violation.
• Copiepresse, which brought the original action on behalf of a number of newspapers,
is seeking damages of more than €49m.
• Google later said it hoped to collaborate with publishers to find “new ways for them to
make money from online news”, and added:
“We believe that referencing information with short headlines and direct links to the source
- as it is practiced by search engines, Google News and just about everyone on the web
- is not only legal but also encourages web users to read newspapers online.”
What have I missed?
Is this useful?
I can’t cover everything, but….
Feedback, suggestions and omissions welcome.
Like the Murphy’s, I’m not bitter.