Seattle becomes hyperlocal hotbed as 43 sites launch
SEATTLE - US media firm Fisher Communications has launched 43 hyperlocal websites in the Seattle market, making it the largest concentration of community websites in the country.
Fisher, which owns KOMO-TV and KOMO-AM radio, is bringing together its TV and radio content with DataSphere Technologies' LocalNet online ad sales platform.
The new sites include BallardKOMO.com, BellevueKOMO.com and 41 others.
KOMO is to restructure its Seattle newsroom to post community news on a real-time basis and is complementing that with user generated content.
It will also tie-up with real estate firm, Windermere Real Estate, and use its local knowledge and strong presence in each community to help drive the project.
Fisher plans to launch similar platforms in its other markets, beginning with Portland later in the Autumn.
Fisher will be competing against Seattle's last surviving newspaper The Seattle Times and Seattlepi.com, which is the online presence of the new defunct newspaper The Seattle Post Intelligencer.
The Seattle Times is also upping its community efforts and earlier this week joined with a number of other newspapers in another community project funded by the American University's J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, based in Washington.
The Institute is providing a small amount of cash to support a liaison and provide small stipends to local content partners.
Troy McGuire, vice president of news and general manager of Fisher Interactive Network, said: "We believe we have differentiated our hyperlocal programme from others by developing an innovative content development strategy and an ability to rapidly monetise our programme."
The launch follows MSNBC's acquisition earlier this week of Everyblock.com, while the Washington Post closed its hyperlocal experiment LoudounExtra.com.
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