In a partnership with DataSphere Technologies, 14 Belo television markets will be getting hyperlocal websites featuring content about local events designed “to help advertisers reach the audiences most relevant to their businesses.”
Belo Corp. is getting down to the neighborhood level to offer advertising to small businesses on targeted hyperlocal websites. The sites featuring content about local events are being launched through a partnership with DataSphere Technologies.
Fourteen Belo television markets will be getting the hyperlocal sites and Gary Cowan, SVP-product and marketing at DataSphere, tells TVNewsCheck that several are already up and operating. An example can be seen at http://events.kens5.com, associated with Belo’s KENS San Antonio. Visitors to the Belo events websites can search for local events by neighborhood, event type or timeframe.
If you live in the Bourne, Texas, area, for example, you can find that St. John’s Lutheran Church is the starting point for Bourne Walk on Dec. 8, a 10k or 5k walk.
“Belo is continually looking for opportunities to help advertisers reach the audiences most relevant to their businesses and investing in solutions to improve the experience for our website visitors,” said a statement from Joe Weir, VP-digital, Belo.
“Belo television stations have close community ties, strong journalistic reputations and an intense regional focus. We are excited to be working with them to deliver a compelling new service for consumers and small businesses in their markets,” added DataSphere CEO Satbir Khanuja.
DataSphere’s telephone ad sales team targets small businesses for packages which might only run a couple of hundred bucks a month, typically in six- or 12-month increments. “We create a bundle, which includes not only the ad placement, but also other functionality for the businesses, including a profile page, including a video in most cases — and also we help them create coupons or offers that we expose on the partner site,” Cowan explained.
Belo certainly had events on its websites before, but David Karabag, director of product management, says the TV group will now have “very robust events content on our sites” that can be searched by users. Belo’s digital operation is already starting to see a ramp-up in traffic at KENS, which launched the company’s first site with DataSphere in August. Also, Karabag noted, there’s been a ramp-up in ad sales on the site.
Although DataSphere began its TV website business with a revenue sharing model, that has largely changed. “As we progress, we’re moving more toward a fixed model, where we’re effectively buying impressions from our partners,” Cowan said. “It provides more certainty to our partners. At the same time, it allows us to plan better.”
DataSphere began its hyperlocal TV-affiliated website business in 2009 with Fisher Communications, which is a minority investor in the technology company as well. The major venture capital backers include Ignition Partners, OVP Venture Partners and First Analysis.
In addition to Belo and Fisher, DataSphere has partnered with Gannett, Meredith, Sinclair, Raycom, Local TV LLC and Hubbard — 125 TV station partners in 103 markets to date. Most recently it has expanded into newspapers with Gannett’s Arizona Republic, along with the magazine side of Meredith. In all, DataSphere claims approximately 500 million impressions per month on its media partner websites.
Some partners, such as Fisher, put neighborhood news on the hyperlocal sites. Others, like Belo, limit the sites to event information.
Fisher told investors in its 3Q conference call that it is retooling its sites to improve revenues. Cowan told TVNewsCheck that’s “a process of evolution” to optimize the neighborhood sites.