San Diego joins the ‘soft parade’ revolution
Is San Diego the latest market to join the “soft parade” revolution?
A new venture called San Diego News Network recently launched in the California city. On first blush, the site seems to reflect hyperlocal sites that have been started … and for some, failed … in other markets.
With a staff of about 25, SDNN’s approach is to utilize a combination of local news sites, citizen journalists and bloggers to provide the basis of news and information for local residents, as well as maintaining “a conversation with San Diego” through online forums.
So what makes SDNN different? It’s a unique partnership with local media outlets, from television stations to niche publications, that share ad revenue from the site, according to Interim Executive Editor Barbara Bry.
“They understand that by banding together we all win — particularly San Diegans who will have a terrific news and information resource. In exchange for a share of SDNN ad revenues, the media partners provide us with free advertising,” Bry said in an e-mail.
In addition to this partnership, SDNN also has an agreement with AP provide national and world news.
Bry would not go into specifics on the revenue sharing – nor would she discuss specific one- and five-year revenue goals – but did note that SDNN did sell out its total advertising spots for its launch.
CEO Neil Senturia adds the SDNN revenue model is different from traditional news sites.
“SDNN is structured with a much lower operational costs in terms of delivery of services and staffing with an unmatched capability to provide more personalized, hyper local news and information for readers where they live, work and play,” Senturia recently said to Chief Marketer. “Additionally, SDNN will have greater opportunities for advertisers to target specific local audiences based on demographic and psychographic information with pinpoint accuracy than other media outlets.”
Senturia calls it a local version of what Google does on a national and international level.
Senturia and Bry — a one-time reporter for the L.A. Times and Sacramento Bee — don’t hide the fact that SDNN is out to compete directly with the Union-Tribune’s SignOnSanDiego site.
“Our goal is to become the dominant homepage for San Diegans looking for news, information and meaningful conversation on a wide range of topics pertaining to the areas where they live, work and play,” Senturia said in a press release.
So, yes, San Diego will be another community to watch this year. Given its unique partnership with a host of local media, SDNN is getting it right in my mantra “do what you do best, and link to the rest.”
And if its Google-lite approach to generating revenue is successful, SDNN could be a model for other media sites, particularly those in competitive markets.
Here’s lookin’ at you, San Diego!