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 →
While everybody in journalism is wondering how the future of media looks like, entrepreneurs try to shape it. They develop new products and services that maybe could be the next big thing in journalism. OJB asks those entrepreneurs three simple questions in a series of interviews. First up: Shafqat Islam from NewsCred. For everyone who has never heard of NewsCred: it’s an online platform that aggregates articles from lots of media – newspapers, magazines, blogs. NewsCred users can build a personalised online newspaper by selecting media and topics they want to read from and about.Continue reading →
This month’s Carnival of Journalism looks forward to new media developments in the coming year. Here are my no doubt misguided and naive predictions:
2009 will not be the year of the mobile web
Every year we make end of year predictions that the coming year will finally see the mobile web hit the mainstream. In many ways, it already has. But any expectations of there being some significant spread in 2009 will be scuppered by the credit crunch: users will be increasingly reluctant to spend money on a smart phone as the purse strings tighten. We’re not all going to be carrying around iPhones.
On the plus side, as a result of that slowdown we can expect mobile service providers to become more competitive in their data rates and packages, so that those who do have smart phones will have more reason to take out a mobile web package. Continue reading →