Consumption of local media is high Use TV, radio, internet, newspapers, magazines or teletext to source local information 100% 93% 92% 92% 91% 90% All adults 80% 70% 60% 50% 2005 2006 2007 2008 Source: Ofcom’s Media Tracker, rolled data from April and October 2008
And localness matters to consumers % saying local and regional content is very important - weekly users Scores based on respondents importance rating 9/10 on a scale of 1-10. Source, Ofcom research
But consumption is changing What is your main source of news about what is going on in your local area? Source: Ofcom media tracker, rolled data from April and October 2008
With the web in ascendancy Use of local media now compared to two years ago Source: Ofcom research 7
So, I’m mostly going to focus on the web today. But before that, what do we mean by local?Or indeed hyper-local?
9 MY COMMUNITY MY LOCAL AREA MY REGION MY NATION UK There is no consistent definition
Local boundaries are not clearly defined and vary according to:
e.g. regional boundaries can be considered national in Scotland, Wales and Ireland
As a result, definitions of community vs local vs regional media differ by individual
Source: Ofcom qualitative research 2006
News or content pertaining to a town, village or small community. Geographically smaller than traditional broadcast regions. Comes in many different shapes and sizes. Professional. Citizen run/produced. Hybrid. Aggregator/Automated. Sometimes also referred to as ‘ultra-local’ or community media. And on all platforms: TV, Radio, Print and Web.
Common Characteristics 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. Often seeks to fill gaps - geographical, special interest or demographic – audiences hyper-local producers see as unserved, or under-served, by mainstream media. Diverse sources of funding (if any). Including: advertising, subscriptions, grants from public and private funding bodies and in-kind funding from volunteers. The value and role of community media goes beyond the provision of content, with specific value often seen in the social capital generated by it’s production. May be single issue-based, or too small for commercial operators to merit ROI.
UK examples of traditional local and hyper-local media
Community Radio Not-for-profit radio services designed to operate on a small scale and to deliver community benefits aka ‘social gain’, to one or more communities. Initial legislation introduced in 2004. First station launched November 2005.
Ofcom has licensed 228 stations over two
rounds of licensing.
181 are broadcasting, 17 not launched
or handed their licence back.
Remainder preparing to launch.
9.2 million adults (11 million people) are able to receive a community radio station broadly aimed at them. c.15% of the total UK population may be able to receive a community radio service aimed at them on FM or AM.
Local Video: Launched in 2008 offering “Local Television for Monmouthshire”, Features a weekly 15 minute news bulletin as well as a range of other content such as local Sport, Music, Festivals and human interest stories. Typically gets 1,000 users a day, increasing by 300% at busy times e.g. Festivals. December 2009, it recorded its millionth visitor. Run (voluntarily) by two professional filmmakers, and volunteers - some doing 15 hours p/w to help with filming, editing and scheduling. A lot of the content is generated by students doing a City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma at the station; with coursework being showcased in the “Mon TV Academy” . Many graduates stay on as volunteers after graduating.
The Hackney Podcast won Sony Radio Gold 2010 for the best internet radio programme.
Recently won the Gold award for General programming in the New York Festivals
International Radio Awards. Launched 2008; available to download for free each month from their website. The winning podcast looked at water and how it fits into the lives of people in Hackney. Featured author and psycho-geographer Iain Sinclair and architectural historian Simon Inglis, and music from electro-acoustic composers incl. Francisco Lopez and Stefano Tedesco.
“The Hackney Podcast is just the type of targeted and locally orientated content that sets podcasting apart from conventional radio broadcasting. Using first rate contributors the podcast examined how water fits into the lives of people in Hackney. The production quality is outstanding giving the whole listen a water like lyricism that carries the listen through to it's conclusion.” Sony Radio Judges, 2010
Local Print & Web: 10,000 copies distributed face-to-face in the first week of every month at markets, train stations, and events and also in cafes, shop, businesses and libraries. Estimated readership: 30,000. Plus online audience: http://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/ Written by the community incl. freelancers from NCTJ, Telegraph and the Guardian. No office, no staff, no overheads. No previous experience. (Keith Magnum who runs it used to work for the Green Party.) Sell ads, ABC1 skew. Won’t take ads from chains competing with local business e.g. Morrisons. Uses free Guardian API to pull in relevant content produced elsewhere e.g. a visit from Jude Law to the Petchey Academy in Dalston.
Local Commercial ‘Postcode’: SE1 London SE1 Community Website - local news service and discussion forum for London's South Bank, Bankside, Bermondsey and Waterloo areas. http://www.London-SE1.co.uk Supported by in SE1 monthly printed what's on guide. SE1 Direct weekly email newsletter7,200+ subscribers. SE16.com is our online events guide for Rotherhithe and Bermondsey. All produced by Bankside Press, a small family-run web and print publishing business in SE1.
Local Online Forums Examples include: http://www.urban75.com/ Brixton (and plenty of non-Brixton) related content from gig reviews to photographs and local forums. Traffic “in excess of quarter of a million page impressions per day” despite being non-commercial and free of advertising. Launched in 1995. Launched July 2007. Using white label social networking tools e.g. Ning, Flickr. Sign up required. 2,000 members. Discussion and interaction with both a civic and social purpose within the neighbourhood of Harringay in the Borough of Haringey. www.harringayonline.com
Local Environmental Campaigning Cemex: $multi-billion Mexican multi-national concrete company. Very noisy plant in KX. Resident led campaign uses videos to evidence noise. YouTube links sent to UK CEO, Council etc. Cemex capitulate – correct problems and restructure plant.
Local Storytelling Stories about life in Spitalfields, East London. Focus on human interest stories and history. Email sign up for daily updates. Ambition to author 10,000 posts. “At the rate of one a day, this will take approximately twenty-seven years and four months. Who knows what kind of life we shall be living in 2037 when I write my ten thousandth post?” Readers from Qatar, Seattle and all over the world, not just E1! Sample user comments: “Your blog has become a daily joy I look forward to savouring. It’s a bit like a grown-up (and sometimes not-so grown-up) advent calendar. I open it with the same anticipation…” “I love you gentle author. I read Spitalfields Life when my heart is worn. It makes me think of you and how remarkable the beauty. 2037 indeed. Hope I’m here.” http://spitalfieldslife.com/
Typology Conclusions No single definition; comes in many different shapes and sizes including: Professional - e.g. http://ventnorblog.com/ Citizen run/produced – http://parwich.org/ Hybrid – such as those produced by professional journalists/academics e.g. http://bournvillevillage.com/ Aggregator/Automated e.g. http://planetbalham.org.uk/ 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.
1. Finding a proven business model “To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.” Chinese Proverb
Context: key business challenges For small scale hyper-local operations, like many listed earlier, key challenges include: Discoverability. Audience perceptions of quality. Lack of single / group editorial vision and voice. Funding – very few commercially viable. Inconsistent coverage i.e. there isn’t one everywhere. Most hyper-local content is online – so 30% of the population are immediately disenfranchised. Big business doesn’t necessarily find it any easier…
1.1 - Closure of The 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 and had good editorial impact, the project is not sustainable in its present form.” Meg Pickard, head of digital engagement Source:http://bit.ly/hbtSJy “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.” PaidContent’sRobert Andrews Source: http://bit.ly/fmUxl5
1.2 – Expansion of AOL’s AOL expanding its Patch US local news network to 837 sites across more than 20 states. Part of editorial expansion following February’s $315m acquisition of the Huffington Post. Source: http://reut.rs/mvtyZf 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 In December, Patch had just over three million unique visitors, 80 times that of a year earlier, according to comScore. Source: http://nyti.ms/eP7pku Meanwhile, Paid Content estimated the cost of Patch at $30m per quarter. Source: http://bit.ly/g4IA9a Patch claims their websites costs 1/25 of the cost of a daily newspaper in the same town. Source: http://bit.ly/ow3zWZ
1.3 - Lessons from TBD in the US “Hyperlocals like TBD: More hype than hope” ( http://bit.ly/h7Camr ) said failure caused by: Small audiences; Big expenses; Small revenues; and Big losses. Rick Edmonds’ – Six business lessons from TBD’s early demise: Branding, Effective Ad Sales, Filling an existing need, “Pedigree does not equal strategy”, “Building out big is a risk” and “Fail Fast”.
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
Context: Local Advertising Traditional Advertising Strong heritage: Local Newspapers, Commercial Radio etc. But the internet is drawing traditional revenue streams away from old local media. Percentage of advertising spend on internet 2007 Source: Advertising Association
2.1 – Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Old models switch to digital Recent Yell Group results: 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. “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 Source: http://bit.ly/lhuKLE New models emerge Hyper-local media buying agency Oxbury Media, has built up an ad network of 10,000 sub local newspaper publications and sites representing a 10m+ audience. Offers to “broker advertising, by postcode, region or even village” in print and online.
In 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.
“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 2.3 – Huge excitement over local deals
But not everyone thinks there’s potential:“Hyperlocal audience is hypersmall audience” Heading from an article covering new research by Borrell Associates, a consulting firm that 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 website’s visitors don’t live in the market, 20% of page views are delivered to “fly-by” users who won’t 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 in the end probably only delivering 100,000 local users. Cited at: http://bit.ly/gWErpH
3. Location, Location, Location “I like to drink to suit my location.” Tom “What’s New Pussycat” Jones
3.1 - Location Meets Advertising Location 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, the region, 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 pushed from Starbucks and L'Oreal, 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.
3.2 - Location Meets News 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’siPhone 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.” Source: http://selnd.com/mEkDwr Example created for someone in Topeka, Kansas
3.3 - Location meets Social 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. Source: http://bit.ly/iVgLYY 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”.
Or a combination of the above Information and entertainment services, accessed through mobile networks which harness the ability to identify the geographical position of the device/user. Characteristics Share your location – and status - with friends. Discover businesses and services near you. Rate aforementioned businesses and services. See if your friends are nearby, or invite them to join you. Rewards / incentives to share e.g. badges, discounts etc. Best known examples: Foursquare and Facebook Places. Others, often US only: Gowalla, SCVNGR, Whrrl, Loopt and Brightkite Facebook through Facebook Deals and Facebook Places merges the advertising and social. 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
But, still small fry… Why? It’s pretty new, so low awareness. 7% awareness amongst adults in US, April 2010. Low understanding of benefits. Low numbers vs. critical mass. “None of my friends are on it. so what’s the point?” Not enough businesses /deals to merit signing up. 4. Privacy “The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not... home.” http://pleaserobme.com/ Big brands, the rise of the smartphone and popularity of new ‘deals’ services may change this.
4. Democracy 2.0 "Technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand and stabs you in the back with the other.” English physicist and novelist, C.P. Snow
Does politics have an image problem? Falling turnout Declining trust New Scandals Declining party memberships Voter apathy, especially amongst the young. Can the hyper-local web help?
4.1 - Government encouraging interaction “Council meetings have long been open to interested members of the public and recognised journalists, and with the growth of online film, social media and hyper-local online news they should equally be open to ‘Citizen Journalists’ and filming by mainstream media. Bloggers, tweeters, residents with their own websites and users of Facebook and YouTube are increasingly a part of the modern world, blurring the lines between professional journalists and the public.” Local Government Minister Bob Neill in a letter to local authority leaders Source: http://bit.ly/ektNLF "Opening the door to new media costs nothing and will help improve public scrutiny. The greater powers and freedoms that we are giving local councils must be accompanied by stronger local accountability.” Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles
4.2 – Interaction by Elected Officials Engagement by Elected Officials East Dulwich Liberal Democrat Councillor James Barber won the award for online councillor of the year from the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU). He has published more than 1,300 posts and his thread on the East Dulwich Forum viewed over 40,000 times. “Formby First” started May 2007, by Sean Brady, a Parish Councillor. Formby, is a small seaside town in Merseyside.
4.3 – Examples of Web 2 interaction TweetyHall is an online aggregator for Councillors who tweet. It’s primary aim is to encourage “participation and open conversations, promoting better and more transparent communication between voters and elected representatives.” Grassroots Reporting
SE1 website carries AudioBoos of Southwark council meetings
Ventnor Blog who have been live-blogging Isle of Wight proceedings since 2007.
Inside the M60 tweetsfrom Council and Executive meetings of Manchester City Council.
5. Data 2.0 "The goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight.” CarlyFiorina, former Chair of Hewlett-Packard
5.1 – Open Data and Accountability Government transparency agenda includes a commitment to make public all Council Expenditure over £500, salaries of Public Servants earning £150,000+ and organograms. CLG are encouraging financially literate citizens to act as ‘Armchair Auditors’ scrutinising Council expenditure in a similar manner to the way that the Guardian asked people to help them review MP’s expenses. Adrian Short’s Website for the Royal Borough Of Windsor & Maidenhead
5.2 – Using Data to Understand Services Bournville News took public information but presented it in a useful way for residents, byt producing a map of Birmingham City Council gritting routes in Bournville. “I thought the potential grit shortage might mean that some roads would stop getting gritted should the cold spell continue and knowing which roads were meant to be gritted would be useful knowledge. ‘Will my road get gritted?’ is an easy question to answer since the City Council has a alphabetical list of all the roads that are gritted in order of priority.” (With thanks to Dave Harte for this.)
5.3 – Using Data for Civic Action Residents group set up site with help from Talk about Local and the Council. Detailed discussion about traffic data following this repeat accident. (Thanks to Will Perrin for sharing this example and images)
Putting this all in context… Hyper-local is being shaped by – and is part of - wider media and technological changes …
Wider trends include: More choice – more media outlets and sources than ever before Personalisation tools like paper.li or Trove Filters - from who you follow on Twitter, through to Google Alerts or dashboard services like Netvibes Social News – stories shared by your social network friends, or via email Social Search and Social Q&A like Quora orGootip Social Bookmarking like Delicious or Digg Declining trust in journalism and traditional media 8. Online communities so we can talk about, debate, question, and meet people who think about the world in similar or different ways.
“When we change the way we communicate, we change society.”Clay Shirky
Thanks for listening.Any questions?Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @mrdamian76