Hyperlocal, the $100 Billion bottom of the journalistic food chain.
Michael Gluckstadt at Fasttrack has published an illuminating article about the growth in interest in hyperlocal news by corporate players.
He makes some good points about the potential returns (possibly in the region of $100 Billion) and the existing pitfalls. What is really interesting is that both examples discussed (Patch and Local, which are run by smart people) are aiming at areas where there is, they think a better chance of a serious commercial return. Which is quite obvious really.
So what we are likely to see in the short term is very vigorous competition by big rich corporates over a few attractive locations and then a mass of unattractive areas with little obvious economic promise being served by local volunteers and small town entrepreneurs. This will probably look like a typical Power Law graph with a handfull of majors at the top and then an ever so steep slide down to the mass of the population (rather like the long tail).
It will be interesting to see how much money will be invested trying to control the top of the graph and finding out at the end of the day where the elusive business model is? My guess is where the costs are lowest.