WorldNow, a technology vendor, and a network of almost 150 local TV news sites, have formed the Local Media Network (LMN). The network claims it has a combined 20 million monthly unique visitors and will be represented in 34 of the top 50 U.S. media markets.
The effort is to create reach and an opportunity to simplify ad buying and thus attract larger dollars than would otherwise be possible on the local station Web sites in the absence of the network.
The LMN will offer a range of different ad units including video and is primarily a branding and contextual advertising play for national advertisers seeking to reach local consumers at the moment. It does not appear to be something that most SMEs can/would adopt. However, larger SME advertisers (e.g., regional car dealers) could see value and potentially buy into the LMN.
MediaPost reported that the network already has commitments from national advertisers such as MasterCard, Delta Airlines, Verizon and Vonage.
Right now the differentiator appears to be video and other rich media, although both Google and Yahoo! are developing rich media as part of their contextual networks.
The Kelsey Group has been speculating about when local TV stations would get into the local online advertising act. It appears now they have in a potentially big way.