Local News Now seemed to be on an expansion trajectory earlier in the decade with two sites in Northern Virginia and two in the District of Columbia. But today the company has just two — and while they’re both profitable, founder Scott Brodbeck isn’t thinking of launching more sites anytime soon.
Founder and CEO Mike Ragsdale explains why diversification is such an important element of 30A’s fast growth into what is now a multimillion-dollar operation. He also explains how community news sites that don’t have a tropical beachfront to boast about can create their own unique, revenue-generating brands.
In 1989, Marc Wilson’s Montana news bulletin board put editorial content into the hands of other local-news publishers more quickly, abundantly, and cheaply. Today, Wilson’s TownNews.com serves 1,600 newspapers — big and small, daily and weekly — as well as pure-plays and other digital publications
When local stories go viral, the often do so at the expense of local advertisers who see no added value in this influx of poorly targeted leads. So how do local publishers benefit from the periodic bonanza of visiting traffic without alienating their base?
Up until now, most digital ad targeting has focused on marrying the right ad with the individual user. But that kind of targeting can be hit or miss. This new partnership will try and connect the right kind of ad messages to the right editorial content across Lee’s 20 million monthly visitors.
After mulling over the recent proposal to realign publishers’ relationships with advertisers and readers, I went to Rusty Coats, executive director of the Local Media Consortium, to see if he thought it was something legacy media companies would buy into.
Joe Hyde, founder and publisher of San Angelo Live, is seeing his independent community news site in West Texas hit $60,000 in monthly ad revenue. And on its second anniversary, the site continues to attract more unique visitors than the site of its 131-year-old “legacy” competitor.
Digital media vet Chris Jennewein left Patch after the Aol sale, and returned to San Diego to launch the independent Times of San Diego. He is now a direct competitor to the Union-Tribune, and has started a twin regional site called MyNewsLa.com.
Hyperlocal news organizations can be necessarily limited by their neighborhood focus, but Blockfeed thinks local news has the potential to be far more viable, because the essential components — content, an audience, and advertisers — have already been brought together by geography.
In April, online city guide Charlotte Agenda arrived onto a shifting Charlotte, N.C. digital scene. The site’s eclectic mix of five-to-ten quick-read, mobile-friendly stories and a distinctive conversational style of commentary is standing out among local media players eager to reach a young audience, but will it prove sustainable?