MSNBC moves into hyperlocal market with EveryBlock acquisition

LONDON - MSNBC.com, the joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal, has acquired hyperlocal start-up EveryBlock.com, which provides community news and reviews and covers 15 major US cities.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. EveryBlock will remain an independent brand with its own site and its five employees will now work at MSNBC.

EveryBlock.com allows users to type in their address or neighbourhood to view aggregated news coverage, blog entries, civic data, photos and dozens of other types of information.

It also brings in feeds from other websites, including Flickr, Yelp and Craigslist to give readers a picture of what is going on in their neighbourhood.

EveryBlock is one of a number of startups developing the idea of aggregating information from different sources on one site, like other sites in the US including Placeblogger and Outside.in.

The acquisition resembles AOL's purchase of Patch.com earlier this year -- a similar community-level hyperlocal site -- as major media corporations find efficient and cost-effective ways to establish themselves in niche markets.

Last year, the New York Times launched The Local, a series of hyperlocal websites with a focus on citizen journalism.

Newsquest, Trinity Mirror and Associated Newspapers have also launched hyperlocal websites in the UK.

EveryBlock had previously been operating on grant funding from The Knight Foundation, which ended last month. MSNBC, said the acquisition will allow EveryBlock to continue to innovate and reach more consumers on a larger scale.

Adrian Holovaty, founder of EveryBlock, said: "Joining with MSNBC.com gives us the resources to turn EveryBlock from a cool, useful service into something much bigger."

The website is available in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, Washington DC and Seattle.

Today it was also announced that Fisher Communications, a Seattle-based communications company, is to launch a network of 43 hyperlocal websites in the Seattle market, increasing local content offerings and expanding advertising opportunities for local businesses.

The extensive network of sites will be the largest hyperlocal system in any one region in the country.

More on Brand Republic

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