The decline of newspaper readership opens a door for other media to head the news cycle, with everything else trickling down to the TV and radio stations and websites that feed off the original content.
That’s the premise for GoLocal24, a local news and lifestyle content company that started with a website and broadcast partnerships in Providence, Rhode Island, and will add a Worcester, Massachusetts, site in February. The site has seed funding from Angel Street Capital and 10 people on staff — including a well-known local news personality.
Founder Josh Fenton says he lived and breathed the news cycle as a Hill staffer in Washington and later as the owner of an ad and PR agency. The decline of newspaper readership has convinced him that there “is a likelihood that the newspaper that drives the news cycle will cease to exist.” Already, newspapers have “no relevance” to most consumers under 45 years old, he says.
Launched last year, GoProv is likely partially responsible for a decline of Belo’s Providence Journal website, which Fenton says is down 30 percent to 40 percent since last summer. Local readers “have had a choice for the last 12 months. We’ve broken more news stories” – quite a claim for such a small site, given the large newsroom that the Providence Journal has.
Multi-channel targeting is the key, notes Fenton. Right now, GoProv is acting as the news source for Channnel 10 NBC and four Clear Channel radio stations. “We go on drive time with the big story of the day, and also to their websites, where we are the local news widget,” he says. Some of the stories, in fact, break on the broadcast stations, then push back to the website. In addition to breaking news, GoProv is producing a five-minute clip of daily news, using two anchors.
Video, in fact, is seen as a great asset as the site preps its Worcester site. Living in the shadow of Boston, there is no network TV station affiliate in Worcester, although it is a city of 1 million people. “You never have Worcester or Worcester County news on the Boston stations, unless something really horrific happens,” says Fenton.
Social media also plays a major role in building the company. Roughly 20 percent of its traffic derives from Facebook, where it has 85,000 social relationships between fan pages, writers, friends and other social assets, notes Fenton. That number may be ramped up more as additional media outlets come on board. The company is currently in discussions with a sports radio group.
Leveraging a social competency is also a vital component for the company’s advertising relationships. More than 30 advertisers buy a broad package that can include display ads, rich media, email promotions, inclusion in deals and social blasts. The site, in fact, has been cash flow positive since it was seven months old.