As the recession continues to hurt major media organizations, many news outlets are having to shutter their regional bureaus due to budget cuts, even though the prospects for local content — and advertising — online are growing. But that is leaving room for companies that specialize in local content to flourish.
This summer, MSNBC.com purchased EveryBlock, a company that feeds crime reports, restaurant health inspections and other data to news organizations' Web sites, while AOL Inc. recently acquired local-news network Patch.
Another local company flourishing right now is Outside.in. This week, the neighborhood newsfeed announced the close of a $7 million Series B round of financing, led by Union Square Ventures. CNN is also an investor, and will begin displaying feeds from Outside.in on its newly revamped site early next year.
Outside.in aggregates news from blogs and news media sites into feeds of specific neighborhoods. The company currently services 57,830 neighborhoods and feeds neighborhood information to the websites of several major news organizations, including Tribune Co.'s Chicago Tribune newspaper, The New York Post and Dow Jones & Co.'s local newspapers.
After a year that included adding over 100 media companies to the Outside.in For Publishers platform, bringing traffic to the Outside.in Network to nearly six million monthly unique visitors and add more than 4000 local bloggers to its roster, this brings Outside.in's total funding to over $12 million.
I caught up with Mark Josephson, the company's CEO, to chat about why local content is so hot right now, if it can save the newspaper industry and what Outside.in has in the pipeline for 2010.