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LMC and LMA Announce Winners of Branded Content Pilot Project

New York March 12, 2019

Funded by the Facebook Journalism Project, grants will help companies further branded content revenue streams

The Local Media Consortium and the Local Media Association, two of the local media industry’s most innovative organizations, today announced the winners of a branded content pilot project that will provide dedicated resources, host advertiser focus groups and grant money to seven organizations to expand their branded content programs in an effort to increase revenue.

The winners, announced today by LMC CEO Fran Wills and LMA President Nancy Lane at the 2019 Local Online Advertising Conference, are ABC Owned Television Station Group, The Dallas Morning News, Graham Media Group, McClatchy, Shaw Media, The Texas Tribune, and WRAL in Raleigh, N.C. Finalists underwent five rounds of the selection process with careful consideration given to those projects that were financially successful, scalable to other markets or media types and could provide lessons for the industry based on their interest in testing and growth strategies. Judging was completed under consideration and guidance by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a national trade organization for the digital media and marketing industries.

“We are thrilled today to announce the winners of our branded content initiative and can’t wait to see how this funding will help local media companies increase revenue and audience engagement by expanding their existing programs, ultimately developing proven industry models,” said Branded Content Project Lead Julia Campbell. “We are grateful to the Facebook Journalism Project for investing in this one-of-a-kind initiative and recognizing the importance of sustaining local journalism.”

“We are grateful to the Facebook Journalism Project for investing in this one-of-a-kind initiative and recognizing the importance of sustaining local journalism.”

The project was developed through a unique partnership between the LMC and the LMA and is part of a $1 million investment from the Facebook Journalism Project to help more than 2,000 local newsrooms across both the LMA and LMC membership better understand, develop and implement revenue streams through branded content both on and off Facebook. The call for applications was announced in January and ended on March 1. Applications were received from LMA and LMC members and non-members alike, with entries from across the U.S. and as far away as India and Norway.

Branded content uses the strength of storytelling to provide a valuable benefit to advertisers while increasing audience engagement and revenue for local media publishers. This powerful revenue stream has shown to be a success for many media organizations. The branded content project is designed to help facilitate additional growth, engagement and success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.

“While branded content has become a core part of the local media offering, it is time that it evolves beyond “advertorial 2.0” said Mike Orren, chief product officer of the Dallas Morning News. “We are excited to work with thought leaders across our industry to develop models that drive reader utility and advertiser value.”

“Sponsored content has been a rapidly growing revenue source for our owned-and-operated platforms as well as with our digital marketing arm, WRAL Digital Solutions, said John Conway, general manager for new media at Capitol Broadcasting Company. “We believe the Alpha Group will help us accelerate that growth through research, collaboration and additional resources.”

The Alpha winners – which are comprised of a mix of broadcast, print and online-only local media companies that span large, medium and small organizations – will receive a package that includes in-market focus group research, expert consultation, ability to collaborate with other alpha markets and the grant funding supplied by the Facebook Journalism Project. The groups will test go-to-market strategies with brand partners in their local communities with a goal to identify best practices and effective business models that will be expanded throughout the local media landscape.

About the Local Media Association

The Local Media Association is a thriving and innovative association that serves local media companies (newspapers, TV, radio, directories, digital news sites, and more) as well as research and development partners in the industry. LMA assists local media companies with the digital transition via cutting-edge programs, conferences, webinars, research and training. They are intensely focused on helping local media companies discover new and sustainable business models. Learn more at http://localmedia.org.

About the Local Media Consortium

The Local Media Consortium delivers economic value through strategic partnerships on behalf of more than 80 local media companies in top markets across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 2,500 outlets. By harnessing the combined volume and scale of its members, the LMC reduces costs and increases revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Facebook, Monster and others. The aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 160 million unique monthly visitors and its member companies serve more than four billion pageviews to consumers.

ABOUT THE LOCAL MEDIA CONSORTIUM

The Local Media Consortium delivers economic value through strategic partnerships on behalf of more than 80 local media companies in top markets across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 2,500 outlets. By harnessing the combined volume and scale of its members, the LMC reduces costs and increases revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Facebook, Monster and others. The aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 160 million unique monthly visitors and its member companies serve more than four billion pageviews to consumers.

More information is available at www.localmediaconsortium.com.
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