New startup idea. Another story about new ways of creating and sharing local news and information.
Excerpts from the lengthy and interesting story.
The 46-year-old New York native is planning to spend somewhere in the mid six figures in the next year to get the thing off the ground.
In its boot-strapped launch phase, the site, which at the moment is being called Brother.ly even though Brady said that's likely to change, will have a full-time staff of eight, as well as a deal with Temple University providing office space and other resources (like student journalists)
Under the direction of Chris Krewson, a veteran of Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Philadelphia Inquirer, Brother.ly's small newsroom will curate a comprehensive stream of local news, optimized for cell phones and tablets, that links directly to primary mainstream sources like philly.com as well as niche local sites such as The Notebook and Technical.ly Philly.
On top of that, there will be original journalism covering areas that "impact people's daily lives," said Brady, and that aren't already saturated by the city's dailies—anything from biking to crime prevention to school issues. (Don't expect to see one of Brady's reporters hanging around the Eagles' or Phillies' locker rooms, though.)
Brother.ly's self-proclaimed mission is to inspire "a better Philly." But that mission could prove fraught in its own way given the challenges of scaling a small startup in an advertising market where web rates haven't caught up with the mass exodus of readers from print.
"The challenge is numbingly obvious," said Rick Edmonds, a media analyst at the Poynter Institute (of which Brady is a board member). "It's difficult for a startup to attract advertising; the rates are low, the case a sales staff can make about why you'd want to be on a site is not necessarily self evident. But I'm sure he has ideas for all that, as well as other revenue streams."
Indeed, Brady said Brother.ly's model will be a mix of advertising, events and memberships. The latter two pieces will be key to the publication's success, according to Brady, though he hasn't figured out the precise breakdown and said it was too early to share any specifics about his business plan and revenue projections, which media analyst Ken Doctor told Capital should be in the neighborhood of $2 million by year three.
Broadly speaking, Brady said the memberships and events would involve connecting people and groups around issues such as education, transportation, infrastructure and development.
Advertising is trickier. Digital ad formats, even at their most lucrative, "do not command the high prices, dollar for dollar, that legacy ad formats in print or on television do," as was noted in the Pew Research Journalism Project's 2014 State of the News Media report. On top of that, much of the $43 billion U.S. digital advertising market is cornered by tech titans like Google and Facebook.
The good news is that an outfit like the one Brady is building can benefit from targeted relationships with local businesses, and local online ad-spending is growing in the Philadelphia area, where it is expected to reach nearly $2.9 billion in 2018, up from $653 million in 2012, according to Borrell Associates, a research firm.
Brady said a two-person sales team will work on forging relationships with brick-and-mortar businesses as well as with "advertisers who are interested in certain causes and want to participate in discussions." A security company might sponsor a public-safety discussion group, for instance, creating what Doctor described as "a combination of effective digital advertising and community awareness."
[Brady] thinks Philly's parochial mindset and a recent surge in millennials that has outstripped all other major U.S. cities, according to a January report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, makes it ripe for a local news platform that will emphasize reader engagement.
"I refuse to believe that after 200 some odd years of being able to figure out how to make money on local news and information, that all of a sudden there just isn't a model to do that anymore," he said.
Hyperlocal media insights - Mar 03, 2014
Proposed new Toledo media outlet - Apr 07, 2014
Media org trying to innovate - Sep 02, 2014
New digital media startups - Apr 07, 2014
Journalist baffled by Quartz.com design - Dec 09, 2014