What is a hyperlocal site?
Think globally, act hyperlocally
The fashion trend of the last two years is hyperlocal media projects. Although the concept itself has not yet been established, experiments in this direction are being conducted actively.
What was the impetus for the development of this idea? Two factors. The first is the inability of national media to meet the needs of local communities, exacerbated by the economic crisis and the transition period in the evolution of traditional media. The second is the development of the Internet and digital technologies, which sharply lowered the cost of producing and publishing content.
Wikipedia believes that there are only three key elements in a hyperlocal media project:
- content applies only to a specific geographically limited community (city, village, etc.)
- content is intended for consumption by this limited audience
- content is created by a representative residing in a given territory
Due to the fact that the production of content is cheap, there are many enthusiasts. And since they know local realities much better than any journalist of any major (federal) publication, the value of the information they provide is superior to any publication of a major media outlet. Hence the success of small newspapers is growing .
Hyperlocal projects are generally not news for a long time, just nobody tried to classify them in this way. They have existed for several years, both in the USA, Europe, and in Russia. But over the past year or two, they are getting more and more publicity. Even the industry of solution providers for such projects is being formed. The most striking of its representatives, recently made public , is the Outside.in project. (At the time of writing this note, this service collects news from 35,312 cities and towns. True, all of them are located in the United States. In addition to content, the site offers tools for publishers and bloggers.)
In practice, we see that instead of Wikipedia, hyperlocal projects use any a combination of the following features:
- geographic restriction of the target audience
- content filtered by the place of production and / or by the place of consumption by the target audience
- local media integration
- integration with local public institutions (business, NGOs, authorities)
- pronounced visual or thematic structuring of content based on geographical features
- lack of journalistic standards and industry-standard media product requirements
Perhaps hyperlocal projects would not have attracted much attention if it were not for the crisis in the American media. Layoffs in small newspapers led to the mass of professional journalists, finding themselves unemployed, began to create blogs in which they began to publish what was literally at hand. Some of them even began to earn a living from this and create their own media projects. It is too early to talk about a sustainable business model, but some of them have become profitable because they rely on the specific needs of people.
This has attracted the attention of major American media. As a result, even monsters like ESPN launch hyperlocal sites.. The company plans to open sites in major US cities, while relying on available resources and hiring only 15 people to service the next line of three sites. The Chicago site has already gathered more than half a million visitors. It is interesting to note that local popular bloggers do not see him as a competitor and are even going to cooperate with him.
Let's see how events will develop. Can big media deliver highly targeted content? Will they be able to strengthen their economy through hyperlocal sites? Will there be a clear differentiation and preference between organized journalism and unorganized civic?
UPD Another example of how a large company uses hyperlocal sites. The New York Times Launchessites for five districts in New Jersey and Brooklyn . They gather the content of local bloggers, plus materials created by their own journalists are added. The average price for advertising on the New York Times sites is $ 30 per thousand impressions; on local sites, they lowered it to $ 5.