In a guest post for the Online Journalism Blog, Shane Redlick shares his experiences of launching two hyperlocal startups – one, launched 5 years ago, based on a traditional advertising model. The second – launched this year – seeking to innovate with a broker-based model and crowdsourcing technologies.
2005: Opinion 250 News
In 2005, myself along with 2 partners launched the hyperlocal startup Opinion 250 News in Prince George, British Columbia (Canada). Myself and my company performed technical development, admin and financial tasks, while the other 2 partners (long time media industry people/semi-retired) did all the reporting and managed a small team of topical/weekly writers.
All content is original for local news. We had a lot going for us and we managed to make some good gains in the first year. To date the company is profitable and can pay modest salaries for those involved. But it has taken the better of 4 years to reach that point.
The effect we were having locally was significant (read comments to story here, for instance). The biggest challenge for us was building monthly ad revenue.
We did not sell on CPC or CPM basis. It was a flat monthly cost. We had a couple of people selling the ads and we had quite a bit of local good will and resulting support via ads. Even with a lot going for us however, this was a big challenge. In fact in the first month, when we launched, we’d sold nearly $10,000 CAD (monthly recurring) in ads. Continue reading