Should Hyperlocal Publishers Accept Barter Deals?

Most of the better known hyperlocal sites we contacted told us they didn’t do trade or barter, and they didn’t want to talk about it on the record. In Dallas, hyperlocal pioneer Mike Orren said people don’t talk about it because they don’t want to attract the attention of auditors, or they don’t want competitors to know that they’ll do barter. He agreed, however, that trade is “absolutely viable” for independents…

As Digital Media Gets ‘Horizontal,’ It Acts More Like Local Businesses

Local businesses are the most suited to life in the networked world, because they already deal with people directly, and often on a first-name basis. To the extent that local businesses have learned to do this, they can teach the rest of the business world how to behave in our increasingly collaborative environment…

Mobile Is Huge — But Two Key Elements Could Slow Its Growth

We in the media think we’re in the information business, when the reality is that we’re very much in the advertising business, and advertising is in disruption right now. In their effort to influence and produce results, marketers are simply unable to demonstrate even a modicum of restraint when it comes to the line between useful and nuisance.

Local Media Companies Need to Decentralize to Survive

As applied to information technology, centralization is an error that needs correction. The concept of centralization is counterintuitive to the network, because the network sees every node as equal. The real business opportunities are all local, not in bundling everything together to create scale in order to accumulate digital pennies…

Legacy Media’s ‘Agency’ Business: Just More Brand Extension?

When we clear aside all the hype, legacy companies with “agency” offerings are just creating clutter in the marketplace without offering anything of substantial new value for merchants. Media companies are far too busy playing defense to consider offense, and defense always includes copying what the other guy across town is doing…

Joe Trippi: Local TV’s Biennial Political Cash Bonanza Is Going to Fall Off a Cliff

In an recent interview, the presidential campaign guru told Street Fight that while it would be business as usual for broadcasters next year, 2016 would likely see the beginning of the end of TV’s dominance in political advertising: “There’s a growing number of people who get it,” he said, “that there’s a better way to deliver a more targeted and relevant message without having to buy all that broadcast reach. It’s going to come. … It’s just a matter of time and innovation.”

What Comes After Local TV?

Let’s assume that local TV, like local radio did before it, will have to morph into something different. What would that look like? How would it make money? What content would it or could it produce that would accumulate an audience that it could sell? Is one-to-many still an advantage of any sort? Will the new model in any way resemble the old?

Are We Giving Google Too Much Information?

While certain groups complain about certain content on the Web, the real danger is always found in that which is not seen, hidden in plain sight within the language that builds that which we can see. Google is the absolute master of doing business where it’s not seen, and I’ve reached the point where I think it’s time we all said “enough.”

As Local Media Shed Staff, Personal Franchise Sites Could Fill the Void

The independent voice of the individual can make “the news” more personal, more compelling, and more exciting. The nuances of the trade can be taught, but people planted within the community with knowledge and perspective offer something that traditional media companies can’t or won’t. And linking local bloggers together is a viable concept…

How a Big Agency Merger Could Benefit Local Ad Sellers

While I certainly believe that big data is our future, nuance at the local level is a part of accuracy when it comes to the providing of filters. This is an advantage that we have in local media, and we should not be shy about making that known to small and medium-sized businesses in the communities we serve.

What Local Media Can Learn From the Royal Birth

Who is “royalty” in your community? It’s something news organizations big and small should know, because these are the people who make things happen — or not happen — in and around you. They are of the 1% that we speak of in the widening “us versus them” debate in our culture today. Their comings and goings can be real news, but their social activities and personal lives can also be news…

Local Media’s Data-Driven Future

New value creation is the purpose of media companies today, whether small or big. I genuinely feel sorry for those who believe there is a future in practicing content creation alone. Last week, I called for a strategic makeover. We need a new strategic plan that positions us as more than “just” a media company and behind which our employees can throw their energy. So here are ten things that I view as tactically supporting such a strategy…

Local Media Companies Need to Evolve — And Do It Fast

Local media’s traditional big-man-on-campus chest-thumping doesn’t mean the same thing in digital that it does in the analog world. In fact, it’s downright laughable. So what do we do when we hit the wall, when we regularly miss revenue targets, when long term projections keep slipping more and more? So what do we do when we keep hiring more ad reps, only to discover that our revenue-per-rep begins to fall, when the evidence is undeniable that we’ve hit that wall? Here are five recommendations.

Why Hyperlocal Is Naturally Suited for Investigative Reporting

A new study by local media research/consulting firm AR&D and Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) reveals that investigative reporting is a big draw for consumers when it comes to media choice. Sixty-two precent said it was reason enough to follow a particular news organization, and it ranked only behind weather (54% preference) in terms of interest — and that interest is growing. Investigative reporting is plain old reporting. Period. And it begins with getting off the lazy and easy commodity news bandwagon and growing a reportorial spine…

Everybody Is a Media Company, So Now What?

The explosive growth of personal media has disrupted everything it touches. The same inexpensive tools that consumers are now using are also available to any-sized businesses, which has the potential of entirely leveling the playing field in consumer goods and services by driving down the cost of marketing. The neighborhood doughnut shop can just as easily make and distribute media as the Kroger Bakery up the street or, by God, even Walmart. We may chuckle today but just wait…

Authenticity: The Force Behind the Local Snowball Effect

One of the new values that the Web demands is authenticity. For news, it means a commitment to truthfulness by bringing readers or viewers as close as possible to the source of information. In business, it also means being truthful in our behavior, attributions and even our intentions. It’s an underappreciated and underutilized value, and it strikes at the very heart of marketing — especially at the hyperlocal level…

Why Mobile Ads Are ‘A Little Scary’ (And Potentially So Valuable)

Mobile isn’t a mass marketing vehicle; it’s my one-to-one, highly intimate connection with the Web. It’s a personal device, and its connection to me is private (or not), powerful, and controllable entirely by me. It is, in fact, a portable, electronic version of me, and I will not permit interruptions in the name of commerce for long…

It’s 2004 All Over Again: Mobile Spending to Double in 2013

According to a Borrell Associates client memo made available to Street Fight, local mobile advertising will increase 100% this year. That’s right; double. In some markets that number may translate into tens of thousands of dollars; in the largest, it’s $100 million or more. Gordon Borrell told us that what’s happening with advertising at the local level is “nothing short of phenomenal.”

Two (Big) Things Preventing Local TV’s Collapse

The concept of network content distribution through local affiliates is being challenged by the Web. Local broadcasters are middlemen in the delivery of network content to the masses, and that was fine in a world absent horizontal connectivity. So it would be easy to assume downstream trouble for local broadcasters. But while there’s quite likely much of that ahead, it won’t totally kill the industry. There are two enormous roadblocks standing in the way.

Report: Pureplays Using Legacy Media as a Farm System for Sales Staff

Local media companies need to do something to protect their digital sales assets or run the risk of losing them to pureplay web companies, according to a new report from Borrell Associates. Pureplays offer starting salaries in the range of $12,500 per year more than their nearest competitors, the local TV stations. The gap between starting pureplay sales people and those who work for newspapers is an incredible $21,000 more…