A few days ago I was having a conversation with my girlfriend and we were talking about how weird it is that the internet has the power to basically destroy all types of business, such as magazines, newspapers, television providers (cable and satellite), telephone companies, television stations, the Postal Service, radio, etc.
We were discussing how no other medium in history has been able to do this, television couldn’t kill radio, radio couldn’t kill newspapers, etc. But, the internet could kill all of these.
What’s odd though is that our conversation somehow morphed into the idea of making a news website for the city we live in. We live in a small city of 30,000 people but there are many other smaller towns neighboring us where a few writers and a few podcasters could get a considerable amount of those peoples eyeballs.
Right now there are only three ways of getting news in this city, the newspaper that seems to be printing more and more Associated Press articles lately, the local NBC affiliate which can only be viewed by watching it when it broadcasts, 6:00pm and 11:00pm or recording it to watch later, and the local radio stations which seem to be getting all of their news from one of the other two sources.
But the strange thing is that a single website with podcasts and written news on the website could destroy at least two of these three (when it comes to news at least). The advertising could easily be done by either billboards or even ads on the newspaper/NBC affiliate.
What I think would really get people is incredibly different approach to the news, not only would you be watching the news but you could be engaged in the news by leaving comments on the website, maybe on an audio podcast you could call in and leave a voicemail with differing opinions. Podcasting and blogging could change local news like no one had ever thought.
This idea of taking a small number of people and a few thousand dollars and turning it into a business that could rival the traditional news sources has been a dream of mine for a couple of years now, I think that we will finally see it in the next year or so in many of the cities across the country. Not only because the technology has become easy enough for the average Joe to do it but also because podcasting is becoming much more mainstream.
I can’t wait for it, I’d love to be able to just go to a website (that has a decent design) and be able to easily view/listen/read the news whenever I want, and commenting on the news through voicemail and comment forms would be nice to.
Just as an aside I was going to write a few paragraphs on how easy it would be to monetize but I’m sure you could figure it out, you approach a few local businesses, you tell them that you have X number of people listening/viewing/reading the content on a regular basis and you KNOW that they live in this area could easily monetize the whole business.