UK and US Hyper Local Update: Sept-Oct 2011 - 20 key developments


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20 recent hyper-local developments and discussions from the UK and USA, Sept-Oct 2011.

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  • UK and US Hyper Local Update: Sept-Oct 2011 - 20 key developments

    1. 1. Hyper-Local Media Update:20 things to note from the UK & North America September 11 - October 11 A personal take on recent discussions and developments Damian Radcliffe, 17th November 2011 Comments and feedback welcome: @mrdamian76
    2. 2. BackgroundThis is an update to a number of previous packs looking at the UK and US hyper-local scene: slides are by no means intended to be comprehensive, but cover some of the key hyper-localdevelopments I’ve spotted in the last couple of months, and which I wanted to share. There’s quite astrong emphasis on traditional media in the UK this time for instance, and less on start-ups.Everything here is in the public domain, but these slides endeavour to bring examples and storiestogether; 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.I’m sharing this to get feedback and suggestions – so do send them!Any omissions, errors or mistakes are mine, and mine alone.
    3. 3. ContentsUK Americas1. Local TV update 1. FTC investigation into Google2. Proposed changes to BBC Local 2. Google and Local Search ads3. Sky’s local pilot in NE England 3. Community ad network created4. New data: local papers and their websites 4. A question for Patch editors everywhere…5. £15m of free press ads for SMEs 5. HuffPo acquires Localocracy6. DMGT and Trinity Mirror’s ad partnership 6. Living Social7. Localpeople franchising 7. Research into tablet use8. Other newspaper news 8. Pew research into news and tablets9. “Can Big Media do ‘Big Society’”? 9. New Canadian paywall10. PM backs the local press 10. In other news… As ever, thanks for reading!
    4. 4. September 2011 – October 2011Ten hyper-local things to note from the UK
    5. 5. 1. Local TV• Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt set out his vision for a new Communications Act in a keynote speech to the Royal Television Society. In a wide-ranging speech, he touched on a number of areas including super-fast broadband and public service broadcasting. The promotion of economic growth, protection of online audiences from offensive content and taking a “bold” approach to local TV were also key themes. Read it in full here.• The Guardian reported that at a London seminar Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt had defended plans to drop a proposed national TV network for local services, warning each of the new services would have faced start-up costs of about £2m. "I started very attracted to the idea of this spine and I was really modelling it on the American system. The reason that I moved away from that is not that I dont believe in the benefits of a network [of local affiliates], the trouble is by starting as a spine you have to cover all the costs of a national network, you then have to access spectrum that would be much, much more expensive." "You push up the costs of the operation right from the very start to close to £2m per city. I believe that was making it harder for local TV to get off the ground from the start. Nothings perfect but that was the reason.“ Source:
    6. 6. Selected commentary and feedbackLocal Television Network chairman and former BBC director general Greg Dyke hascriticised proposals to establish a multiplex company to manage TV spectrum for plannedlocal TV services. The company will receive up to £25m to cover infrastructure costs.Dyke said: “Gifting this money to a monopoly transmission supplier seeking to maximise its own profits does not seem to be a good option.” Source: Hewlett - “Local TV is happening, but it bears no relation to Jeremy Hunts big vision” Source: Hall, CEO of digital channels services group Canis Media, said that the Government’splanned local TV services have more chance of establishing viable business models thanearlier initiatives due to the increasing “complexity of revenue streams, and a similar opportunity inmultiple delivery streams”. “It no longer needs to be just conventional linear TV broadcasting. It could be local data drawn from websites, for example. There are also huge savings to be made today compared with 10 years ago, and far greater flexibility, and there are neater, quicker and cheaper ways to make TV.” Source:
    7. 7. 2. Proposed BBC Cuts• In October the BBC Trust launched a public consultation after reviewing a set of proposals from BBC management for changes to the services the BBC provides and the way the Corporation operates (known as ‘Delivering Quality First‘ or DQF).• The proposals are anticipation to result in savings of around £670m a year by 2016/17 and a loss of around 2,000 jobs across the BBC. See:• They follow the licence fee settlement agreed with the Government in October 2010, which saw the licence fee frozen to 2017, and the BBC assuming new funding responsibilities for the World Service, S4C, BBC Monitoring, local TV and broadband.• Changes to programming and services in the nations and regions include: – For TV, protecting underlying investment in news programming; producing fewer non-news programmes and rebroadcasting more of them to UK audiences; and increasing investment in network programming produced across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales; – For nations radio, reducing investment in non-news programming and focusing on peak-time; and – For English local radio, focusing spend on peak-time programmes, but with increased sharing across regions in off-peak slots.
    8. 8. Local Radio proposals in more detailBBC management has proposed the following changes to the BBC Local Radio:• Focus spend on peak-time programmes: breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime; sport; and faith on Sunday mornings• Increase levels of sharing programming in off-peak slots: weekday afternoons, Sunday afternoons and evenings o On weekday afternoons most stations would share programming with their neighbouring stations, although a few, which serve a particularly distinct audience, would remain separate o On weekday evenings between 7pm and 10pm, programming would be shared across England, with all stations coming together except when providing local sports commentaries o At other off-peak periods programme sharing would occur at a variety of levels. Some would be akin to the regional television areas, and during the late evening in five larger areas: the North; the West Midlands; the East Midlands; the East and South East; and the West and South West o All stations would broadcast Radio 5 Live from 1am until the start of their breakfast programme o A number of locally split breakfast programmes would end• Within all shared programming individual stations would continue to provide local news bulletins at present, and would be able to leave the shared schedules in times of civil emergency or bad weather• BBC London would lose a number of off-peak programmes and reduce other spend to bring the station more in line with other BBC Local Radio stations Taken from: the BBC Trust’s service review of Local Radio, which closes on 21st December 2011. See: Consultation: BBC Local Radio
    9. 9. Sample Reaction & Next Steps• Former GMG Radio CEO John Myers is to conduct BBC Local review.• Myers posted a blog about the future of BBC Local Radio here which is worth reading. Source:• BBC director of news Helen Boaden has insisted the Corporation’s local radio stations were not “being picked on” after it was announced they will face proportionately larger budget cuts than other radio services. “I believe that BBC local radio can survive and even thrive because it will always have its unique connection to its audiences.” Source:• In a letter to the Director General, BBC Radio Cornwall managing editor Pauline Causey said she believes local services in England will suffer disproportionately. Her internal email was leaked to the Western Morning News. She wrote: ‘This summer’s BBC accounts show local radio in England – 42 million populations – cost £141.5 million… ‘Radio in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales cost £91 million, for 8 million people. ‘Radio Cymru costs £16.1 million. It reaches 146,000 people. ‘Radio Cornwall, our station, at present has a budget of £1.6 million. It reaches 142,000 people. We’re successful, local and distinctive.” Source:• The RadioCentres Andrew Harrison has suggested some of the BBCs local stations could be outsourced to the commercial sector, saying: “ 25% of TV is required to be made by outside production. What about BBC local radio?” Source:
    10. 10. 3. Sky’s local pilot in the NE Sky News associate editorBSkyB is to launch a pilot regional online news and sport service Simon Bucks said:in the Tyne and Wear area, with the free-to-use offering goinglive early next year. “This pilot will test our belief that there’s an opportunityThis will be the first time that Sky have offered a regional variant of to supplement existing sources oftheir service. local news with a vibrant and dynamic video-It will be available free on digital platforms, internet and focused website.”mobile, with video shot by highly mobile video journalistsarmed with the latest lightweight cameras. “…Mostly, these "mo-jos" will be on the road, editing their “Why has Sky chosen Tyne and Wear? …. There is certainly plenty stories on laptops and sendinghappening there which is why we intend to add an events listings service them back via wifi or 3G to the news and sports coverage. It will cover everything from the big connections. Our first two video- entertainment attractions at venues like the Metro Radio Arena to the journalists, one a postgraduate hundreds of smaller events organised by the community itself. from Sunderland University, have Our users will be encouraged to contribute to the service already joined, and the others with their own pictures, videos and comments.” will be recruited over the next few weeks.”Broadcast reported that they were recruiting 13 journalists tocreate content. Source: See:
    11. 11. 4. ABCs show web up, print mostly down• First half figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations saw increases in traffic for the websites of leading UK regional newspaper groups. Trinity Mirror, Northcliffe Media and Newsquest sites all saw record growth, increasing traffic by 30%+ year- on-year. – Trinity Mirrors regional online network, which includes and saw monthly unique browsers climb 54.7% year-on-year to 9,005,634. – Newsquest websites, which include, were up 31.7% to 8,525,236, and Northcliffe’s Media network, including the This is... websites, reported a 29% increase in monthly unique browsers to 5,215,954. – Johnston Press’ web traffic figures saw monthly uniques up 9% year-on-year to 7,639,859. Source:• In print however 11 titles saw double digit loses in this time: – the Nottingham Post suffered the largest fall at 16.9% (35,361), ahead of the Yorkshire Evening Post (down 14.6% to 36,512) and the Doncaster Star (14.1%, 2,327). – AND… Only 3 titles saw a rise in circulation: Archant Norfolk’s Eastern Evening News (up 3.4% to 19,161) and Eastern Daily Press (0.6% higher to 59,490), and DC Thomson’s Dundee Evening Telegraph (up 1.6% to 23,631) Source:
    12. 12. 5. £15m of free press ads for small firmsRegional press trade body the Newspaper Society launched new initiative entitled “LocalBusiness Accelerators”, offering up to £15m worth of free ads to small firms.Press Gazzette reported that: “The Local Business Accelerators scheme will provide freeadvertising, support and business mentoring to around 1,500 new businesses across Britainand will be fronted by Dragons’ Den judge Deborah Meaden.”Newspaper Society President Geraldine Allinson, was quoted as saying:“The UK needs to grow local businesses like never before, and local businessesneed local press. No other medium has the power, local knowledge and influenceto activate a scheme like this. It’s where local newspapers have always made areal difference: By helping to build strong local businesses and encourage thrivingcommunities.”The scheme is open to all businesses active in the local community that have been operatingfor between one to three years. Entries closed on 14 November 2011. Source: and
    13. 13. 6. DMGT partnering with Trinity Mirror• DMGT’s Northcliffe Media, home to 113 regional newspapers, is forging a joint partnership with Trinity Mirrors Regionals sales house, AMRA, to create a commercial proposition that encompasses more than 260 titles, including nine of the 10 biggest regional paid-for titles in the UK.• The move will take effect when Northcliffes relationship with Mediaforce ends next year. Steve Auckland, group managing director of Northcliffe Media, said: “While our teams will miss the Mediaforce team, we are really excited at the prospect of gaining advertising revenue through this new arrangement." While Brand Republic commented on the significance of the move: “ The new sales partnership represents a significant move for regional newspapers, paving the way for economies of scale as well as the opportunity to offer a more comprehensive regional sell to the market.” Source:
    14. 14. 7. Localpeople moving to franchise model?Localpeople, part of the Daily Mail General Trust, is advertising franchising opportunities asthey look to expand their network beyond their current portfolio of 160 sites.• Potential franchisee’s are promised three days initial training, as well as operator manual, and on-going support from both HQ and the wider franchisee community.• Franchises will offer exclusivity within a clearly defined local area. DMGT say that typically each territory will cover a population of 20,000 – 80,000 inhabitants.• The cost of this is an initial investment of £6995 + VAT, although returns of “well over” £5,000 a month are cited on their website. Some quoted Localpeople Stats 1. Audience: 750,000+ pcm 2. Growth: Traffic grown 30% in past 6 monthsSource: 3. Relevance: each community site is regularly accessed by 1 in 5 of the town’s online population, rising to nearly 1 in 3 in sites that are over a year old.
    15. 15. 8. Other Newspaper News• Johnston Press has struck a deal with web video start-up Localstars under which it will serve rich media ads across Johnston’s 273 news sites. Localstars MD Chris Bunyan said: “The aim of the game is to basically help Johnston Press sell more high-quality digital ads at a significantly lower cost base.” Source:• Enders Analysis founder Claire Enders told a Leveson Inquiry seminar that staff numbers in the UK regional press have fallen by about 40% over the past five years, with headcount at national titles down about 10% over the same period. She also listed the 2010 revenues of the big four regional publishers, and the amount which these have declined over the last five years. They were as follows: – Johnston Press, £398m (down 23 per cent) – Trinity Mirror regionals, £331m (down 47 per cent) – Northcliffe £294m (down 43 per cent) – Newsquest, £340m (down 56 Per cent) Source:
    16. 16. 9. “Can Big Media do ‘Big Society’?”This is the title of a research report by Neil Thurman and Paul Bradshaw, which usesNorthcliffe’s Local People websites as a case study.Hold the Front Page noted that the academics listed six specific criticisms of these sites:1) Failure to meet their initial target of getting 75pc of the local online population using them, with penetration averaging just 8pc.2) About three-quarters of the stories were written by the community publisher employed on each site rather than by local people.3) Story comments and follow-ups to discussion posts were also infrequent, with most stories not generating a single comment or reply.4) Only a small number of stories or discussions concerned local politics, for example just 7pc on ‘Dorchester People’. In contrast ‘Entertainment’ and ‘Sport’ accounted for 53pc of all stories.5) Practical information on topics such as ‘Amenities’, ‘Social Services’, and ‘Security and Safety’ were popular but not well-catered for by the sites’ structure.6) The sites had failed in their initial aim to be the “local version of Facebook”. The researchers found the average registered user had less than one ‘friend’, with over 90pc of registered users having no ‘friends’ at all.
    17. 17. “While the Government has stated that a revival in local journalismshould be led by the ‘existing media sector,’ the evidence presented in thispaper suggests that the hyperlocal publishing efforts of at least one of theUK’s major regional publishers suffer from some important flaws and arewell behind independent equivalents in terms of engagement with users.”It also argued that independent hyper-local websites are better atholding local politicians to account than ‘Big Media’.In response, Hold the Front Page reported Northcliffe as saying:“The City research is based on January 2010 data, some 18 months ago when the sites were only a fewmonths old and unfortunately does not recognise the significant growth of Local People since that time.”In the same article, Neil Thurman confirmed that the initial research was carried out inJanuary 2010, but said they had conducted further research in June 2011 on the userpenetration of the sites.Read the report here: the Front page article: see this piecefrom Jon Slattery:
    18. 18. 10. PM backs local pressPress Gazette reported Prime Minister David Cameron praising the regional and local pressduring a visit to Norwich-based Eastern Daily Press, saying local newspapers had a "sort ofcalm and reasonableness" lacking in some national newspapers.Editor Peter Waters raised concerns that readers had quizzed the Archant titles journalistson whether they were involved in phone-hacking given the national revelations, adding: "What concerns us is that the government might use this as an opportunity to impose new restrictions on the media."In reply, Cameron said:“I think your readers know very well that regional newspapers have adifferent agenda, a different way of doing business and a differentapproach. There’s a sort of calm and reasonableness to regional papersthat you don’t always get from national papers. That’s not to say youdon’t fight very strong campaigns, you do, but there’s not the samelevel of hysteria, if I may put it that way.”Sources: and an edited version of this discussion, beginning with the Prime Minister looking some recent EDP front pages:
    19. 19. September 2011 – October 2011 Ten hyper-local things to note from across the Pond
    20. 20. 1. FTC investigation into GoogleIn June, Google’s own blog reported that it is being investigated by the Federal TradeCommission. In response to the FTC investigation, non-profit body The Media Institutepublished a white paper entitled “Google and the Media: How Google Is Leveraging ItsPosition in Search To Dominate the Media Economy,” in which it argued: “Google has used two principal strategies for appropriating the creative content of others for their own gain. The first, exemplified by Google News, takes content from potential competitors to launch new businesses while depriving those competitors of the revenue their original content generates…. The second strategy, exemplified by YouTube and Google Books, is to test legal limits of copyright and, when challenged, to resolve any disputes by further cementing its monopoly.”In the conclusion of the white paper they wrote: “…Google has shown a willingness to exercise its monopoly power to the detriment of media companies, publishers, and journalists. These are companies ready to compete in the digital age, and prepared to rise or fall on the quality of their content and the strength of their creativity. They face challenges that will promote innovation. But they also face a challenge – from Google – that discourages improvement, and that transforms any advance into a setback as Google misdirects users to its own webpages, displaying the content of others and foreclosing competitors from that same aggregated content. Absent intervention by the Commission, the future of the media economy will remain in significant danger of being dominated by a single entity that will foreclose competition.” Read the 32 page document here:
    21. 21. Google ’s responseIn October, Google responded to this White Paper. Their response was published in full on TheMedia Institute blog. (Note: It’s not overly long, and worth reading.)In it, Google commented: “Some of these criticisms are obsolete or have already been litigated; others we believe are just wrong.”It highlighted six key areas which they wanted to respond to – each of which contains anumber of separate bullets and examples to substantiate the point:1. Google Has a Record of Helping the News Industry2. Google Is Investing in the Future of Journalism3. Google Books Helps People Discover Books, Benefiting Users, Authors and Publishers4. Google Helps Rights Holders Manage Their Presence on YouTube5. Google Does Not Block Other Search Engines from Crawling YouTube6. Bing and Yahoo both display YouTube videos on their search engine results pages. Read the full response: white-paper-the-truth-about-google-search-and-the-media-industry/
    22. 22. 2: Google and Local Search adsOver on the Google blog, the search giant has an update on local search ads, which theydescribe as “so hot right now”. Examples of local context around mobile ads include:• Click to Call: introduced for high-end smartphones less than two years ago, listings can include location specific phone numbers so users can call a store if they don’t want to view it’s website.• Hyperlocal search ads: Launched a year ago, these search ads contain useful local information like phone numbers, driving directions, a number to click and call a business directly, as well as distance from the location. Google reports that “Roy’s Restaurants’ efforts with this format led to a 40 percent increase in call volume—and lots more full tables!”• Proximity as a factor in mobile search ads ranking: mobile search ads now include the distance between a person and the advertiser’s business location as part of the ranking system. The feature is only effective if consumers opt in to share their device location for mobile searches.• Circulars: Google recently tested this new ad format with Best Buy and Macy’s. By interacting with ads users can access special offers redeemable in store when they show the offer on their phone. Source:
    23. 23. 11845hl ttp://wwwhttp://www3: Community Sites create own ad network Fifteen Chicago community news sites have joined together to create the Chicago Independent Advertising Network aka ChiAd. The network, began running ads on November 1, in an effort to bring the benefits of scale to the business side of community news. These independent Chicago-area news sites “collectively serve more than 1 million pageviews each month”. ( ) ChiAd’s efforts (including the hiring of a full-time ad salesperson) are being funded by the Chicago Community Trust, which both suggested the initial idea of the network and convened its current participants, and by the Knight Community Information Challenge. ChiAd isn’t the first to try the network approach — see the Seattle Indie Ad Network and the Boston Blogs network, for previous efforts. Source: Image:
    24. 24. 4. “Why not just start your own local news site?”This was the question posed by Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian in New York, andaimed at the Editor’s of AOL’s Patch websites. Here’s some other quotes from this postentitled: “You should only work this hard if you own the business” “The list of duties for Patch editors … is pretty much the job description for every local news site owner I know, at least the ones making a living at it.”“But here’s the thing about the work load for Patch editors: They’re not owners. They are expected to do all of the things they would have to do if they owned their own web sites, but merely in service of building wealth for AOL shareholders. Sure, work hard and keep your job is a nice benefit, and as aformer corporate employee I think employees have an ethical obligation to help build shareholder value. That’s what they’re paid to do.”“However, if what we’re hearing is true about the Patch workload,I can only ask: Why are you doing it? ““Patch editors should know that what they’re being asked to do on salarythey could do for themselves far more successfully and with some chanceof building a valuable business for themselves and their families.” Source:
    25. 25. 5. HuffPo acquires LocalocracyLocalocracy was founded in Amherst, “Our methodology is simple: we believe thatMassachusetts, in 2009 as an online everyone is an expert about something, so weforum encouraging citizens to engage in want to give voice to that expertise and allowlocal issues, share concerns and an exchange of ideas for all to see andopinions, and rank problem-solving participate in.”ideas. Localocracy Founders Conor White-Sullivan andIt was open to registered voters using Aaron Soules in the acquisition press release.real names in Amherst, Arlington,Cambridge, Granby, Milford and South Source: (all in Massachusetts). These The team are now part of The Huffington Post,sites are now closed post-acquisition. where they are looking at how to take theirSource: participatory model and roll it out to HuffPo’s 37 million monthly visitors. You can read how the idea came about, via the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative , here:
    26. 26. 6. Living Social goes hyper-localLivingSocial has announced a new hyper-local deals service targeting neighbourhoods.The first of these areas will be in the Washington, D.C. area and New York city. Specifically,residents of The District, Montgomery County and Northern Virginia in the D.C. area andthose living in Uptown, Midtown, Downtown and Brooklyn New York.Users of the site, tipped for an IPO later this year, living in these areas can choose to see thedaily deal for their immediate area or the larger deal for the entire city. This means that theycan choose from two daily deals instead of one.CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial Tim O’Shaughnessy says of these new hyperlocal deals: “The new localized Deals program will bring more relevant offers to users, providing savings on their favorite neighborhood restaurants, bars, spas and shops. We’re particularly excited to launch this program in our hometown of Washington, D.C., and in New York City, where we know that if you live in Tribeca, sometimes the Upper West Side might as well be in another state.” Source:
    27. 27. 7. Tablet owners now read more newsA joint study from Starcom MediaVest and the BBC revealed that tablet owners tend toconsume a greater variety and volume of news on their devices, and that their userexperience is often more in-depth too.Key findings include:1. 63 percent of people said tablets lead them to rely more on traditional news providers and less on news aggregators.2. Tablets enhance the appetite for news. Fifty-nine percent said they access national or local news more often since they got a tablet. Seventy-eight percent said they follow a larger volume of news stories, and a greater variety of topics than before3. 78% of tablet owners follow more news stories, in terms of both volume and variety, than they did before.The findings were derived from six informal, in-depth interviews and a 1,100-person survey of people inthe U.S. ages 15 to 54, 88% of whom were already in possession of a tablet. All identified themselves asconsumers of news content. Sources: and
    28. 28. Where next for tablets?The BBC survey alsosought insight into whatopportunities andstrategies publishersshould pursue in thefuture.Tablet users said theywould like more control— more personalizationof content and morecustomization options forhow content is presented.NB: I’ve been unable to find thereport online, only reports, of thereport. If anyone can find it,please sent it to me. Thanks!
    29. 29. 11845hl ttp://wwwhttp://www 8. And new Pew data seems to agree… Full Report:
    30. 30. 9. New local paywall in CanadaFollowing a "metered model" experiment, “A decade ago we started to give it awayCanadas largest newspaper publisher is to erect on the Web ... everybody in the newspaperpaywalls at its 38 daily and community business is looking in the rearview mirrornewspapers. and saying, what the heck did we do?” “Newspapers are going to need this goingPostmedia began testing this model in May on the forward … It’s only a matter of time.”websites of the Montreal Gazette and the VictoriaTimes-Colonist. Postmedia’s CEO Paul Godfrey(NB: Postmedia sold the Victoria paper last month.) via: Network will allow online readers But in March 2011 an internet survey byaccess to a certain number of free articles before The Canadian Media Research Consortiumprompting them to pay for more. of 1,682 Canadian adults, showed audiences were overwhelmingly opposedCEO Paul Godfrey was quoted as saying: to fees for content."The numbers [of people paying] are growing. Theyregrowing slowly, but theyre going in the right direction.“ 92% of those who get news online said they would find another free site Source: and if their favourite news sites started charging for content.
    31. 31. 10. In other news…• AOL Video senior VP Ran Harnevo said the US site aims to become “the AP for video” after it launched Editors Room, a new venture offering 2010 acquisition 5min’s library of 250,000 online clips to web publishers who want to augment pages with topical video. Source:• The US Newspaper Guild has ended its seven-month boycott of the Huffington Post, saying it had secured concessions over the AOL-owned site’s use of unpaid writers. Source:• You can now import the places youve checked-in to on Foursquare into Google Places. Read Write Web reported: “Its as simple as finding the feed from your Foursquare profile, copying its link and pasting it into the search box in Places. Its really easy!” Source:
    32. 32. 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. Contact me: (home) (work) Twitter: @mrdamian76