A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Ford Plans Commuter App, Ford Car Not Required (USA Today)
Ford is pushing to get intimately involved with the daily mobility needs of all motorists, regardless of whether they own a Ford. In April, the automaker will launch a smartphone app that helps users with parking and other services, provides live assistants via chat or voice, and offers reward-based programs with partner companies.
How the Rise of Virtual Reality Could Impact Local Marketing (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: With each passing tech revolution, response time diminishes while opportunity cost grows. Local media companies that were late to the consumer internet or the smartphone revolution already know this pain. With VR and AR, local startups will be more agile to experiment than larger incumbents.
How Subscriptions Are Creating Winners and Losers in Retail (Harvard Business Review)
Subscription services go beyond the basic value proposition of a delivery service like Amazon. Subscription adds an extra dimension; even if the primary benefit is convenience/replenishment, subscriptions present an opportunity to create an ongoing relationship with the customer, redefining the conventions of traditional retail engagement.
Challenging Uber, Lyft Bets on a Road Wide Enough for Two (New York Times)
Market dominance is hard to break, but that doesn’t stop upstarts from trying. Lyft has recently made a series of moves in a bid to distinguish itself and avoid being muscled aside by Uber. “We’re gaining share in the United States,” said John Zimmer, Lyft’s president and co-founder. “That’s not what happens when one player has a complete monopoly.”
Nashville ‘Indie’ Home Page Media, Now 5 Sites, Expands ‘Where There’s a Need’ (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: Kelly Gilfillan launched her Home Page Media Group in suburban Nashville in 2009, smack in the middle of affluent turf that had been long “owned” by Gannett’s Tennesseean. Expanding her model to several nearby communities since, Gilfillan is on track to hit $1 million in revenue by 2017.
The Industrialist’s Dilemma (TechCrunch)
Aaron Levie and Robert Siegel: Slowed by heavy regulation, years of codified processes, and aging technology, incumbents are burdened to the point where it is nearly impossible to move quickly enough against an unencumbered challenger. In many cases, M&A will be the industrialist’s fastest path to the right digital experiences, acquiring the way into digital expertise by buying would-be disruptors.
U.S. Digital Display Ad Spending to Surpass Search Ad Spending (eMarketer)
This year, digital display ad spending will eclipse search ad spending in the U.S. for the first time. Combined, the categories of video, sponsorships, rich media, and “banners and other” will account for the largest share of digital ad spending: 47.9 percent, worth $32.17 billion.
How to Navigate the Future of News (Medium)
Josh Stearns: If we want to build stronger local journalism from the ground up, we can’t impose models — even those that work elsewhere — from the top down. Instead, we’re on the look out for “replicable knowledge,” proven or promising ideas that can be adapted to the local context.