CNN has decided to go local. The news channel will invest in hyperlocal news aggregator Outside.in as part of the site's $7million series B funding round. CNN will begin displaying feeds from Outside.in on its newly revamped site early next year.
Outside.in aggregates news from blogs and news media sites into feeds of specific neighborhoods- there are currently 57 830 neighborhoods available (sorry, US and Canada only)- creating a personalized aggregation feed for the user. CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, will assumedly use the feeds to personalize the site for each reader.
Other investors in this round of fundraising were Union Square Ventures, Betaworks, and New York City Investment Fund.
Outside.in for Publishers, which was launched this summer, is already streamed by countless websites, yet CNN is by far the biggest, averaging more that 30million monthly uniques. As of now, publishers can get free feeds from the site as long as they keep the ads on it; publishers must pay Outside.in for an ad-free feed.
The company reportedly plans to use the funds raised in this round of fund-raising to double its staff, which currently consists of 15 employees.
CEO Mark Josephson also said in an interview with paidContent that the company is "going to continue to evolve so that more publishers can do more things with all the data we aggregate and organize. We're going to do more things for local bloggers to drive more traffic and help them build their business and we are going to continue to evolve our core site so that people can get more answers about what's going on right around them."
When asked about the financial future of hyperlocal advertising, Josephson seemed positive but vague: " There are different ways to make money in local. No different really than other media business. The media business is about aggregating a targeted audience and providing services of interest or selling ads to those who do... I'm not sure that [advertisers] should do [Outside.in] or the [original content source] or one over the other. They should do both."
He also plans to further assist the local bloggers that he aggregates: " We give tools for bloggers to get distribution; they get to impact where their content goes. We're going to be rolling out analytics to them so they can see where their content is used and how it's running."
Outside.in, a leader in the growing hyperlocal scene, has nearly 6 million monthly uniques.