Hyper-Local – Is it Good Business?

Earlier this month msnbc.com purchased EveryBlock.com.  The hyper-local Internet news site’s funding had run out and the collaboration between Microsoft and NBC Universal decided to hire EveryBlock’s six employees and give them a budget.

The Chicago based web site had $1.1-million dollars  from The Knight Foundation to spend in two years and it ran out last month.  The angels from msnbc.com came to their rescue. 

The national site’s president Charlie Tillinghast said in regard to the purchase “They’ve broken new ground with their unique approach to collecting, organizing and presenting news down to the block level. Their impact and importance in the community space is extremely valuable and carries promise for journalism and new business models.”  EveryBlock founder Adrian Holovaty had words of appreciation.  “Joining with msnbc.com gives us the resources to turn EveryBlock from a cool, useful service into something much bigger.” 

No one is talking about how much money msnbc.com paid for the local news aggregator.

Holovaty and company were certainly in the lead when it comes to hyper-local journalism and use of technology.  His site covers 15 cities with six employees.

Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

As of last month EveryBlock had 143,000 unique visitors to its site according to comScore, which bills itself as the global leader in measuring the digital world.  Competitor Outside.in by comparison has 800,000 visitors each month.

At EveryBlock you choose one of the fifteen cities and enter your zip code or address to learn what public information is available for your location. 

Hyper-local news sites are hot items these days as evidenced by the msnbc.com takeover of EveryBlock.  Although, hyper-local sites have yet to return the audience numbers broadcasters expect.  We’ll have to see what that means to msnbc.com.

Next week, small markets finding inexpensive solutions for high-definition news work flow.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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