The pilot project was created through a partnership between the LMC and LMA, supported by a $1 million investment from the Facebook Journalism Project.
The investment reaches beyond the award, helping the two organizations support more than 2,000 local newsrooms. The goal is to better understand, develop and implement revenue streams built upon branded-content strategies applicable to Facebook and other platforms.
The seven winners include ABC Owned Television Station Group, The Dallas Morning News, Graham Media Group, McClatchy, Shaw Media, The Texas Tribune and WRAL in Raleigh, N.C.
The winners will receive dedicated resources, get invited to advertiser focus groups and receive grant money intended to expand their branded-content programs to increase revenue.
Additionally, the winners will work with brand partners in their communities to test go-to-market strategies, assessing which work best with their local media landscape.
Winners were chosen after a five-round selection process.
Judges working with guidance from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which gave special consideration to projects with a proven track record of being financially successful, scalable to other markets and media types, and possessing the capacity to provide the industry with lessons on testing and growth strategies.Branded content project lead Julia Campbell noted the organizations are excited to “see how this funding will help local media companies increase revenue and audience engagement by expanding their existing programs, ultimately developing proven industry models.”