Hyperlocal funding situation is ‘seriously challenged’, warns Claire Enders

The funding situation for hyperlocal websites in the UK remains “seriously challenged” – and that means they will be run by unpaid “activists and enthusiasts” for some time yet – media analyst Claire Enders said today.

Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum event on local media, the founder and chief executive of Enders Analysis said hyperlocal websites could learn from the model succesfully used in community radio, where hundreds of volunteers give up their time because they “care a lot about their communities”.

She said there would never be a shortage of community activists and enthusiasts interested in getting involved and giving up some spare time.

“The income picture for local websites has turned out to be seriously challenged,” Enders told the forum audience. “They have to exist out of a very enthusiastic, activist level of engagement.”

A recent Ofcom report found the UK community radio sector attracts more than 25,000 volunteer hours a week, with the average station having 75 volunteers on board.

2 thoughts on “Hyperlocal funding situation is ‘seriously challenged’, warns Claire Enders

  1. william perrin

    it’s great to see Clare Enders catching up. but i think she is only looking a small subsection of hyperlocal sites.

    the vast majority of hyperlocal sites in the UK are run as volunteer operations. with tiny cash costs (say £10-20 a month, much less than a radio station) being met out of pocket. they learn from all sorts of volunteer organisations.

    yet still these sites produce great local information, views events and news. they aren’t directly comparable to existing media forms but are an important part of the future media landscape.

  2. Richard Jones

    I’d argue that the whole issue of whether hyperlocal sites make a load of money or not is one which primarily occupies the minds of regional media executives wondering about how to increase their own revenue, rather than the folk who actually run the sites.

    Comparing hyperlocal sites to traditional media companies is a mistake. I’d suggest they’re more akin to the old-style parish newsletters which are still pushed through letterboxes in many parts of the country every month or quarter.

    The barriers to entry to create a decent-looking internet site and put some local information on it are so low now, that I firmly believe even if hyperlocal sites never make much or any money, people will still be prepared to run them, just as people still run those newsletters.

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