New Local Media: Find Opportunity And Longer-Term Money

Believers of the "all business is local" faith are seeing a new type of tempest whipping up.

With big-market newspapers twisting in the weak economic wind, and radio and maybe TV stations right behind them, one can see local media's desire to rest and reflect. The market isn't nearly what it was.

One recent research report suggests 2008 local ad dollars will drop from $141 billion to $112 billion in five years. The good news is that it'll be $112 billion, which means marketers won't have totally given up on traditional local media -- direct mail, TV, radio, print yellow pages, traditional out of home, cable TV and magazines.

Better news still is that  digital businesses -- mobile, Internet yellow pages, local search, online verticals and classifieds, voice search, email marketing and other interactive revenue generated by traditional media companies -- is expected to grow from $14 billion in 2008 to $32.1 billion in 2013.



Ho-hum, you say? As with any new business, large unit advertising prices for digital come slowly. Still, strong cost per thousand viewers, users, clicks, or whatever prices should be a lure for new opportunists. But, more importantly, what's the alternative?

Currently, national marketers seem to be cutting their losses on local traditional media, shifting whatever money is left to national media. But this is only a pit stop.

Think five or ten years from now when the economy is back on track -- even if at a more modest pace than in recent years. It seems those who target specific micro-local markets, or even on the household level, as the cable industry's Canoe Venture would profess to get to, would have the upper hand.

Are you a local cable company, TV station, or newspaper looking to make that big technology move? Seems scary, huh? Especially when the long term is so... long. Then again, that new storm brewing is just as scary.

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