Bookmarked: New survey on hyperlocal media released

A new survey on the hyperlocal news sector has been released today and makes for an interesting read.

It’s been compiled by some good people – Andy Williams, Cardiff University; Steven Barnett, University of Westminster; Dave Harte, Birmingham City University; and Judith Townend, University of Westminster.

I haven’t had chance to read in detail yet and may post further when I’ve buried my head in it for an hour or two.

In brief:

I loved the mention the fact that many hyperlocals were regularly covering council meetings – one of the areas mainstream legacy media struggles with due to reduced staffing.

But one of the things that stuck out for me was the perennial issues surrounding sustainability in terms of time and finance:

“… the overall lack of revenues being generated could threaten the longer term sustainability of hyperlocal publishing”

and

“Six out of ten say they would like help with generating revenues to fund their own time, and with marketing and promoting their site to drive audiences up. Half would like help with selling advertising.”

Welcome as the recent  Destination Local cash has been to support the ‘next generation’ of hyperlocal providers, there have been a few mutterings from some of the smaller hyperlocal outlets that the scheme focused too much on technology and developers and essentially passed them by. Perhaps another tranche of money may be forthcoming from elsewhere (where?) to look properly at sustainability.

I’d be interested to see hyperlocal sites in places like Leeds taking a partnership approach to selling adverts. If three, four or even more local sites came together and had someone selling advertising onto those sites as a package you may generate enough reach to attract some of the bigger advertisers in the city. Maybe worth a thought?

Check out Nesta’s excellent Here and Now report for more reading on hyperlocal.

In the meantime, here’s today’s report in full:

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