Ten Destination Local projects announced
When we closed the call for proposals for Destination Local on May 17th, we found ourselves in receipt of 165 eligible applications.
We have spent the last 6 weeks carefully reading, assessing and short-listing them until the independent judging panel made its final selection of 10 projects. To accompany their written application, we asked people to post up a 2 minute video outlining their ideas.
We then aggregated these to a public YouTube channel. If you are interested in Hyperlocal media at all, then I believe it's worth taking a look. Others have done so and have written their own interpretation of the field of entries. It is an extremely privileged position to be able to see so many great ideas. I want to thank everyone who took so much time and effort submitting proposals.
Now that we have selected projects for the programme, which will join a similar number of technology platform-led ideas supported by the Technology Strategy Board, it is worth taking stock. This blog post re-states the purpose of Destination Local, gives a broad analysis of the applications and offers some insight into what separated those selected.
Destination Local has a specific focus on exploring the next generation of local media services. During the application process, there were a few questions about why the application call was not supporting existing activity, or not giving people cheap kit (e.g. giving out new iPads). As highlighted in Damian Radcliffe's Here and Now, actually there is already a considerable amount of very local media production activity across the UK.
Other players, such as Talk About Local, do a great job helping to establish, train and support publishers. We wanted instead to support the creation of new platforms and services - especially for mobile devices that a
Summarising the totality of the 165 applications is tough. There was a very wide spectrum of entries and at times we found ourselves questioning whether some of them met our definition of hyperlocal media.
There were a lot of proposals looking to develop mobile versions of existing services. The ones that stood out were those that concentrated on giving people information and services tailored to their geographical location and how this might enable audiences to find their service using a good user experience.
There were a number of applications that wanted to scale up existing services, or build their service out to new geographical areas. The best of these understood and were able to articulate what the issues were and how they planned to overcome them.
Then there were entries that focused on connecting people to niche retailers or other local services. Some of them spoke about rejuvenating the high street or local area. Good applications were clear about how they would engage with retailers and had a clear understanding of their approach.
There were a number of entries from existing media providers, either at a city or regional level, who realised that they need to augment their existing media with mobile services, especially to attract new audiences. Good applications here showed an awareness of how they would test this and how they would measure the trade-off between their existing service and the proposed new service.
A few proposals proposed exploring new ways of monetizing their services, or at least developing ways to make them more sustainable. We were impressed with the ingenuity of thinking about new ways to generate revenue.
We also had a lot of applications that were very focused on engaging with specific communities. The best ones fully enrolled their community in the application process to give us reassurance that the proposed prototype had buy-in from its users.
Finally, there were proposals that concentrated on developing ways for audiences to contribute to media production - either by training them up or by providing new platforms. The best of these had a strong sense of what groups would deliver the service and how they would encourage people to contribute.
In the end, we selected a portfolio of projects that cover off most of the above. We think that because there are different possible research areas across this portfolio, the evidence generated from the projects should provide some useful information for most current hyperlocal media practitioners.
I'd like to thank Will Perrin, Damian Radcliffe, Sarah Hartley, Mark Pearson, Jan Schaffer and Jeremy Silver for their help in selecting the projects.
Our next step is to finalise legal agreements with the selected projects, agree a plan for collecting evidence for each project and then to bring them together (with the Technology Strategy Board projects) on July 11th. We'll keep you posted on individual projects as they progress.