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The UK hyper-local year in review, 2011


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Round up of developments in local and hyper-local media across the UK in 2012 including Local TV, Radio, Newspapers, Funding, Local Government, some examples of content from 2011.

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The UK hyper-local year in review, 2011

  1. 1. Hyper-local highlights, 2011Developments from the UK over the past year A personal take on things of note Damian Radcliffe, 2nd January 2012 Comments and feedback welcome: @mrdamian76
  2. 2. IntroductionIt’s been a busy year across the UK hyper-local scene, so this is an attempt to pulltogether some of the key developments from the past 12 months.These slides reflect on a number of UK wide developments which have helped toshape the current hyper-local landscape.For more information about developments during this period you can check out mybi-monthly slide packs which look at key developments in the UK and US:’s to a busy hyper-local year in 2012!Damian
  3. 3. Contents1. Local TV2. Radio3. Newspapers4. Funding5. Local Government6. Some hyper-local examples from 2011
  4. 4. Local TV in the UK moves a step closer…
  5. 5. A busy year laying the foundations• On 19th January, at the Oxford Media Convention, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt launched an action plan for Local TV, building on December 2010’s Shott report.• This was followed later in the year by the Framework for Local TV and Pioneer Locations consultations, which over 300 individuals and organisations responded to including hyper-local players such as Addiply, Saddleworth News and Neighbour Net.• In December, DCMS published the shortlist of the 20 towns and cities across the UK which are expected to be the first to have their own local TV stations.• They are: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchest er, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton and Swansea.• These were identified as having significant levels of interest from potential operators and audiences following a consultation from 65 areas technically capable of receiving a local TV service.• Ofcom is currently consulting on proposals for awarding local TV licences.
  6. 6. Legislation and Licensing likely in 2012In late 2011 the Government laid three Orders before Parliament that, if they enter intoforce, would create a statutory framework for local television.They are: * the Local Digital Television Programme Services Order (s.244 Order), * the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 (Directions to OFCOM) Order (s.5 Order) and * the Code of Practice for Electronic Programme Guides (Addition of a Programme Service) Order (s.310 Order).DCMS anticipate that the first local television licences will be awarded from summer2012, and then the first of the new stations could be broadcasting from 2013.A further 24 areas have been identified for a future round of licensing (2012/13): Aberdeen, Ayr, Bangor, Barnstaple, Basingstoke, Bedford, Cambridge, Carlisle, Derry /Londonderry, Dundee, Guildford, Hereford, Inverness, Kidderminster, Limavady, Luton, Maid stone, Malvern, Mold, Salisbury, Sheffield, Stoke on Trent, Stratford upon Avon, York.
  7. 7. What this means…Multiplex Licence• Spectrum will be awarded through a competitive process to a multiplex operator to provide distribution for local TV. “The multiplex operator will also be able to utilise two additional videostreams with the potential to create two quasi-national channels.”• Competition for the multiplex licence will be open to commercial and not-for-profits.Ownership rules• The Government intends to consult in 2012 about whether independent television production companies should be allowed to bid for local TV licences.• Current rules, would prevent an independent producer from owning more than 25 per cent of a local TV licence.EPG prominence• Local television services may be added to the list of channels which must be given appropriate prominence on electronic programme guides (EPGs).• Sky and Virgin have committed to offering apps or the yellow button for audiences to access IPTV or video-on-demand local TV services from their front pages.
  8. 8. Community Radio continues to roll out,but BBC Local services are facing cuts…
  9. 9. New round of Community Radio licensingDuring 2011, Ofcom launched a new round of community radio licensing followingsignificant interest expressed by more than 270 individuals and community groups wantingto take to the air and provide services for their local community.This is the third wave of licensing since the first community radio station launched in 2005.Community radio stations cover a small geographical area with a coverage radius of up to5km and are run on a not-for-profit basis. They reflect a diverse mix of cultures and interests.2004’s Community Radio Order defined the sector as “for the good of members of thepublic, or of particular communities”.Stations must also be not for profit, responsible for delivering social gain, and offeropportunities for community participation. Source:
  10. 10. UK Community Radio in 2011 – Key StatsOfcom has licensed 231 stations.196 are broadcasting, 23 have either decided not to launch or handed their licence back.The remainder are preparing to start broadcasting.• 9.2 million adults were able to receive a community radio station broadly aimed at them.• Most stations serve general audiences, but many serve smaller communities of interest; e.g. minority ethnic groups (13%), youth (11%) and those with a religious focus (6%).Ofcom’s Annual Report on the sector concludes:“At a cost of just over £10 million pounds, based on the reportsreceived from stations in this reporting period, community radio inthe UK delivered:• A total of more than 12,500 volunteering opportunities• Over 45,000 volunteer hours each week• Over 15,000 hours of original radio output each week• Output broadcast in a wide range of community languages.”
  11. 11. BBC cuts proposed across the board…• 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.
  12. 12. …. including Local Radio servicesProposals include:• 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 See: Consultation: BBC Local Radio
  13. 13. Newspapers continue to find thecurrent climate quite challenging…
  14. 14. Local and Regional papers impacted mostSpeaking at the opening of the Leveson Inquiry, media analyst Claire Enders outlined theimpact of cyclical and long term structural challenges on the regional and national press:• 40% of regional press jobs have gone in the last five years (vs. 10% at national level).• £1bn of annual classified advertising has gone from the regional press since 2008.2010 revenues of the big four regional publishers, show big declines in the last five years.It is a similar story at a national level, although the decline has been less steep:
  15. 15. Consumers moving away from print to web• 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:
  16. 16. closesThe 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.” Source:• Sarah Hartley used Storify to show some of the reaction to the story:• 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.” Source:
  17. 17. But they later launched• N0tice was launched by The Guardian in private beta at the end of October 2011. The initiative, which started as a hack day project is billed as an online community noticeboard where news, events, and local special offers can be posted. “In many ways they’ve created a new kind of social platform, or a really really old one reinvented for the new world….” Matt McAlister, Director of Digital Strategy at Guardian Media Group• There is no cost for users to join but in order to advertise their product/event in a premium position on other users pages it will cost around £1 per day, dependent on the size of the advert, the size of the geographical region the ad will reach and how long the advert will remain on the site.• Bobbie Johnson at GigaOM described it as: “part blogging platform, part Craigslist, part communal Twitter stream, part forum, part event listing.” Whilst Katherine Travers at Editor’s Weblog noted that: “…the potential of n0tice is multifold, however; the n0tice team has even ventured to explore the potential of using n0tice as a live blogging tool for a local audience. The site makes it easy to curate tweets, embed video and update the board as often as necessary….”
  18. 18. And it’s worth remembering…1. There are 1,200 regional and local newspapers and 1,400 associated websites in the UK. (Newspaper Society)2. Local press is the UK’s most popular print medium, read by 38 million people a week. (BMRB/TGI 2010)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. (Newspaper Society)5. 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)6. More than 70 per cent of people act on the advertisements in local newspapers. (GfKNOP/the wanted ads I) Source:
  19. 19. Funding continues to be a challenge, across all platforms, but new modelsare emerging alongside existing ones… Traditional media and start ups are all experimenting...
  20. 20. From franchising….Localpeople, part of the Daily Mail General Trust, is advertising franchising opportunitiesas they 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.
  21. 21. ….to advertising only models• Postcode Gazette is an ad-funded start-up, which has launched a pilot in Sheffield.• MD Chris McCormack said that it aims to provide “hyperlocal news on a national scale” tomobile devices by recruiting thousands of publishers responsible for small areas. “As a rough rule of thumb, we are thinking in terms of one local publisher for every 5,000 people. Rather than one person to cover a town, or a handful to cover a city, were aiming for 50 or 100. The challenge for us is making sure we have enough skilled people working with us.” Source:
  22. 22. Through to Foundations.… The Detail - an investigative journalism portal for Northern Ireland launched last month. The site is run and - content produced by - Belfast-based independent TV and online production company Below the Radar (owned by Ten Alps). It received 2 years of funding, £790k, from Atlantic Philanthropies (£640k) and Screen NI (£150k).Using this mix of philanthropic and public finance the site notes:“The Detail aims to help put investigative journalism at the core of the news industry in Northern Ireland. It aims not to challenge existing news outlets, broadcast or newspaper, but to supplement them.”It has a team of five full-time journalists, which new content loaded to the portal everyMonday morning and updated throughout the week. Sources: and
  23. 23. ….and Partnerships• 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:
  24. 24. ….Daily Deals and VouchersSTV has launched a new Global Radio, which ownsventure offering discount the Capital and Heart radiodeals to registered users in networks, launched a daily-Glasgow and Edinburgh. deals website in November - - initiallyThe Daily Deals service sees focussing on Birmingham.the broadcasters classifiedteam work with local businesses to source offers which are Global Radio plans to launchsent to readers via email alerts. The service is expected to further sites during 2012be rolled out in other cities. targeting each of its 20 other regional centres, whichSource: include London, Plymouth and Glasgow.Johnston Press and vouchers company Nimble Commerceannounced a new online offersvouchers business. consumers a discount of up(Johnston also diversified to 90% on a range offurther still by introducing in products, experiences andMarch the a business directory, services in their local area. called Find It).
  25. 25. ….As well as new links around property “Sensing an opportunity, the property big guns are moving in. Rightmove, the biggest UK property portal, has been testing Rightmove Places … The site aims to help househunters togain a warts-and-all feel for an area beyond the property listings on the main part of the site.” Susan Emmett, The Times, February 18th 2011Ray Duff on the website described it as: “… a cross between a review website and a social network.Users can post information and photos about a place, and write about their opinions of services in an area i.e. character and personality, neighbourliness, restaurants and eating, etc. Source: Earlier in the year Rightmove reported they had 10m visitors a month, although ‘places’ is still in beta (according to their main site logo, but not their FAQ which notes that the new website went live on October 19th 2011). The site has local community place pages for 27,927 areas in the UK. Visit it here:• Also in 2011 Johnston Press announced a partnership with online property group Zoopla.
  26. 26. Grant funding meanwhile remains a key income source for community radioGrant funding, accounts for 37% of sector income, on-air advertising or sponsorship21%, public funding 25%. Of this, Local Authorities make up (13%), other public bodies e.g.Arts Council, health providers, educational establishments and the National Lottery (8%).The Community Radio Fund (administered by Ofcom on behalf of the Department forCulture, Media and Sport) accounted for £321,500 (c.3% of the sectors total reportedincome) in 2010-11. It is the largest single source of income for the sector.• Stations cost, on average, around £64,500 to run.• Staff expenditure accounted for around 50% of costs.The average station reports the involvement of c.78 volunteers p.a. (with wide variation).The value of this volunteer time is often used to unlock match funding from a range ofdifferent financial supporters.
  27. 27. Hyper-local can benefit from a number of changes in Local Government
  28. 28. The right to tweet and filmEric Pickles called on Councils to let hyper-local bloggers tweet as well as film Councilproceedings, saying: “More and more local news comes from bloggers or citizen journalists telling us what is happening at their local council… …We are in the digital age and this analogue interpretation of the press access rules is holding back a new wave of local scrutiny, accountability and armchair auditors.“ Source: Government Minister Bob Neill, in a letter to Local Authority leaders, wrote: “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.” Source:
  29. 29. And a new publicity code for Councils• A new publicity code (here) for English councils came into effect on 1st April 2011.• The new rules prevent municipal newspapers being published more than four times a year, and are guided by seven principles which seek to ensure that council publicity is lawful, objective, appropriate, even handed and cost effective, with regard to equality and diversity and periods of heightened sensitivity.• Following this, the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle signed a six-year deal with Hammersmith and Fulham Council to publish public notices and other advertisements after the Council axed its fortnightly H&F News publication. Source: “These new rules make it crystal clear that taxpayers money should be for protecting front line services not printing Pravdas or paying for professional lobbyists to put the squeeze on Whitehall.” “Publicity straying into propaganda clearly crosses the line of appropriate public funding whilst film reviews and TV listings sit far beyond the realm of council news.“ Quote from Eric Pickles. Image:
  30. 30. Localism and DecentralisationFurther moves of interest to the hyper-local community include;• The recent Localism Bill (the principles of which are shown in the graphic below)• The transparency agenda with plans to make public all Council Expenditure over £500.• Moves to share Open Data, which includes a call for ‘Armchair Auditors’. Image:
  31. 31. Activity from the last year includes:Sunderland Council is opening and exploring historic data about child poverty inpartnership a local primary school and Tyne and Wear Museums Service. It is hoped thatthe project which will unearth data looking at current challenges for the city, possiblyresulting in apps and tools for community organisations working to alleviate child poverty.Source: ---------------------At the beginning of March, Walsall Council spentthe day tweeting a cross-section of what it does as part ofthe Walsall 24 experiment. The purpose was to help builda picture for residents as to what they get in return fortheir council tax.See: ---------------------Four councils; London Borough of Barnet, London Borough of Sutton, Kirklees Council andBirmingham City Council are working with NESTA as part of their Make it Local‘ initiative.The project aims to identify how local authorities can maximise their use of open data byworking with local digital companies to create innovative services that benefit theircommunity. See:
  32. 32. Other examples from the past year
  33. 33. Jeremy Hunt publicly cites hyper-local “Just as technology drives globalisation, it also drives localisation. And consumers want both. Look at how Mappa Mercia’s gritting map helped local communities in December’s snow. It allowed people from all over Birmingham, Walsall and Solihull to plan their Christmas journeys by checking which roads had been gritted. Or sites like MyTunstall in Stoke-on-Trent which encouraged local people to band together to help clear roads and pathways and make it easier for everyone to travel around. Or the hyperlocal blogs that covered everything from school closures to the disruptionof rubbish collection services. It is easy to be patronising about these hyperlocal services. But take a look at the evidence about what consumers truly value. 8 out of 10 people in this country consider local news important.” Jeremy Hunt, Oxford Media Convention, 2011 Source:
  34. 34. Using data to tell storiesBournville News took public information but presented it in a useful way for residents, byproducing a map of Birmingham City Council gritting routes in Bournville.“I thought the potential grit shortagemight mean that some roads would stopgetting gritted should the cold spellcontinue and knowing which roads weremeant to be gritted would be usefulknowledge.‘Will my road get gritted?’ is an easyquestion to answer since the City Councilhas a alphabetical list of all the roads thatare gritted in order of priority.”(Quotes from Dave Harte.)
  35. 35. Local press coverage of the summer riotsLocal newspapers in riot-hit areas of England reported record website traffic and strongnewsstand sales:• Trinity Mirror’s Birmingham Mail said online page views were up 300% on normal levels, with 100,000 people following the events on its live blog.• Manchester Evening News attracted 493,348 page views up 60% on the daily average from the last six weeks, and 167,308 unique users, up 79%.• The Wolverhampton Express and Star website saw 800,000 hits on Tuesday, with Wednesdays traffic estimated at 1m. Sources: and Higgerson’s blog offered an excellent montageof Thursday’s regional newspaper front pages.I’ve included a snapshot on this slide:
  36. 36. Other hyper-local riot coverageExamples include:• Before and after coverage of a day in Brixton, via Brixton Blog:• Harringay Online had 25 posts on the subject, including what happened and how to help locally affected families:• Birmingham Riots 2011 – a Tumblr site set up by musician Casey Rain• Sangat TV, a small Sikh television channel on Sky Channel 847 also covered what was happening in England’s second city.Paul Bradshaw comments:“Sangat TV’s website crashed due to high demand andthey shifted to hosting their stream on Amazon’s servers.Meanwhile, some clips were filmed by viewers andposted on YouTube. At one point the camera crew gave a lift to police pursuing rioters, the reporter commentating thatthey were “Serving the community”. It’s an action that challenges traditional notions of journalistic impartiality. Source:
  37. 37. Oldham East and Saddleworth by-electionHyper-local website Saddleworth News had more than 30,000 unique visits during January(up from 21,000 the month before) as the site covered the local by-election.Coverage included interviews with party political leaders David Cameron, Nick Clegg and EdMiliband as well as other politicians and candidates.Richard Jones, founder and former editor of Saddleworth News (the site has now beenhanded over to students from the Digital Journalism degree course at University CampusOldham, part of the University of Huddersfield), ran the site whilst being a stay at home Dad.These duties continued during the election coverage. Richard told"Even though it may have been unconventional having my daughterwith me, both the political parties and the visiting national journaliststook me and the website very seriously.“View the coverage at:
  38. 38. Twicket – the live streaming of a local village cricket match on Easter Monday, 25 April 2011 -was inspired, as organiser John Popham explains, by two tweets: “The first was from Dan Slee expressing his hopes for keeping up with a local village cricket team via twitter, the other was from Chris Conder (@cyberdoyle) as she tested the 30Mbps symmetrical internet connection her village now has access to, courtesy of Lancaster University.”On the day, 4,500 people watched and listened to a village cricket match online, it trendedon Twitter where it was highlighted by Stephen Fry, Jonathan Agnew and others.Press coverage included the Metro national newpaper,the Guardian’s Technology Blog sponsors includedThe Country Land and Business Association (CLA) andTalk About Local.Wray won the game with 8 wickets and 9 overs to spare.Read the full story behind the event:
  39. 39. For more hyper-local roundups visit: Contact me: (home) (work) Twitter: @mrdamian76