As part of Nesta’s launch of the Destinaton Local programme this morning, a significant new report that puts down a marker on where the UK’s hyperlocal media scene currently stands has been published.
This latest 56 page report is similarly well-researched and contains plenty of useful insight for anyone getting to grips with what’s happening with hyperlocal.
The following five points reflect my personal interests in this area – I’d encourage anyone interested in this to check out the whole of this excellent report to get a fuller picture
1.The reasons for hyperlocal emergence.
The report points to ten reasons why hyperlocal media is gaining popularity right now which include some well-discussed factors such as reduced traditional media activity and the rise of east-to-use tools such as wordpress. A point made that is less often discussed it the role that the wider business world now plays in this shift.
“Big business recognises the the value of local content and is moving into the hyperlocal space alongside smaller citizen-led efforts.”
2. Harnessing the power of communities.
Something that’s at the heart of all the hyperlocal activity which Talk About Local gets involved in. Damian summarises four key principles which community members typically seek from sustained involvement and adds;
“If handled correctly, this community engagement can play a key role in determining the success and longevity of a hyperlocal service.”
3. Big Media’s struggles.
While noting some of the attempts taken by the big media groups (including the one I also work for) the report points up the difficulties – and opportunities – that exist in hyperlocal and mainstream media forming partnerships. Damian identifies three types of large-scale partnership the hyperlocal sector could benefit from exploiting more:
* Cross sector links (hyperlocal to hyperlocal)
* Links with traditional media (e.g. newspapers, radio and television)
* Partnerships with academic institutions and community groups.
4. Location-based services
Mentioned in terms of emerging trends, the report looked at some the primarily mobile services tipped to be “the next big thing” but concludes that usage and awareness currently remains relatively low. “Nevertheless, these services do offer potential opportunities for hyperlocal practitioners, including news, directions offers or recommendations based on location.”
5. Hyperlocal content in the US
A good point well made here I think, very often those of us in the UK look to the States to see what’s happening (usually with a feeling of funding-envy) and wonder what, if any, of the activity will spark interest over here. But, of course, the landscape is very different.
“Even small hyperlocal entities in the US can enjoy a much bigger turnover that their non-US counterparts.
“The sheer difference in size between UK and US audiences means it is highly unlikely we will ever see figures like these in the UK, or such large investments from venture capitalists and foundations. Commercial Offerings in the UK do exist though, and there is no doubt room for more.”