A major new £1million programme designed to understand and stimulate the development of a UK hyperlocal* media sector, is being launched today, led by Nesta and the Technology Strategy Board.
'Destination Local' will identify the technologies, business models, content opportunities and challenges for a successful hyperlocal media sector in the UK. Today, two calls for applications are being announced:
Jon Kingsbury, Programme Director, at Nesta, says: 'The increasing adoption of new, mobile-based technologies offers exciting possibilities to deliver highly localised information services to niche audiences. 'Destination Local' will prototype the next generation of hyperlocal services in a bid to understand whether these new technologies and platforms can deliver sustainable, scalable models that serve local communities and deliver economic benefit.'
Dr. Jeremy Silver, Creative Industries Lead Specialist of the Technology Strategy Board, says: 'Traditional models of local media, print or broadcast, have suffered as the internet has undermined their business models. But the combination of social media with location-aware technologies, the lowering of barriers to entry for self-publishing, and the high degree of user-engagement now visible online suggests that new models for local media might emerge out of new smarter uses of enabling technologies. We believe that the UK could be a great source of innovation in this field and that this could have value to communities around the world.'
Along with today's call for applications, Nesta is publishing a landscape review of the sector. 'Here and Now: UK Hyperlocal Media Today' is the first comprehensive review of the emerging sector, examining key characteristics, ingredients for success, challenges and emerging trends.
The report highlights the considerable value already offered by hyperlocal media services such as community websites, blogs and Facebook sites to communities around the UK, providing news and information at a more grassroots level than most traditional media. These services help to define local identity, fill gaps in existing content provision, hold authority to account and broaden the range of media available to audiences. And as technologies and platforms - such as smartphones, tablets, Audioboo, YouTube, Wordpress and Facebook - make it easier to create and consume hyperlocal content, its use and popularity is increasing.
The report also identifies a number of structural challenges faced by the sector, including funding, sustainability and visibility. Over the last few years, the UK has seen many launches of online media services that attempt to deliver hyperlocal content. Yet traditional media providers have found it hard to adjust their high-cost models to sufficiently local granularity, and hyperlocal bloggers have found it difficult to develop a critical mass of audience and to develop sustainable business models.
'Destination Local' will begin to address these challenges in a systematic way that begins to measure the potential impact of the sector and puts the UK at the forefront of research into this sector.
To download 'Here and Now: UK Hyperlocal Media Today' and to apply to the programme, please visit www.nesta.org.uk
The Nesta programme call will work in partnership with a broad range of expert partners including the Community Organisers Programme, Innovation Intelligence group, Mozilla, Skillset, STV, Talk About Local, The Guardian and n0tice.com, The Media Trust, Timeout and The University of Central Lancashire (uclan). Nesta co-funding partners include Creative Scotland, the Welsh Government and Creative England.
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Technology Strategy Board press contact: Nick Sheppard on 07824 599644 / firstname.lastname@example.org
NESTA is the UK's foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country's major economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it operates at no cost to the government or taxpayer.
NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in early-stage companies. www.nesta.org.uk
About Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit: Technology Strategy Board website.
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