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A New Distribution Channel for Community Newspapers:  The Mobile Phone

Hamlet Media helps local community newspapers make more money, save labor costs, and better service their communities by sending filtered local news to their subscriber’s mobile phones.  People can get the most relevant local news on your cell phone, filtered, and customized so you only get what is most important to you.  We provide the platform for community news on mobile phones.  We send very local news and things to do.  When your community newspaper becomes a Hamlet Media affiliate, you earn additional revenues from the distribution of your news to mobile.


Saving You Work, Not Increasing Your Work

Our web site allows local newsmakers to submit their news to you on the web, rather than by email, so that when you receive the news it is already pre-formatted for QuarkXPress or InDesign, or even HTML.  The submitter can propose headlines, bylines, and photo captions.  Your layout preparation time is significantly reduced   Better yet, the news submitter can also propose second sources for the information can be more easily verified.


“Smarter Local News”

The newsmaker can also propose to your editor how to classify the event, so that it can properly filtered for cell phones.  The newsmaker, as he is submitting an article to your community paper through the web, can specify the type of event, such as it is a wine tasting or civic meeting, and the intended audience, such as senior citizens, or 14 year old boys. 


Works On Nearly Any Mobile Phone

Hamlet Alerts can be sent as SMS messages to almost any cell phone.  Consumers getting a message about little league signups can simply click on the phone number contained in the message to enroll their child. Next Year, we will provide applications for smart phones, including the iPhone and the BlackBerry, so people who have those will be able to see fully formatted, longer messages, and if appropriate, enroll over the wireless internet. 

 Users can sign up for Hamlet Alerts when they subscribe to their local newspapers or through the internet.  There is a small monthly cost of the service, which is added to the subscriber’s cell phone bill.   Most of the service revenue will be subscription based and because the charges are added to ones cell phone bill there is no credit card billing infrastructure needed.  Revenue is shared with your community newspaper.  

Effectively Hamlet Media a digital news distributor.  The local news we aggregate has been historically collected and vetted through your local editors, and distributed in print.  However this local news has seldom been organized efficiently for digital or mobile distribution.  This is because until now the size of the local audiences has been too small to justify the local newspapers making material investments in digital distribution.  Our Company’s approach is to provide the newsmaker web based input tools, which tags the data so that it can be narrowcasted to the precise consumers that want this news.  A major difference between community newspapers, and lager metro newspapers, is that in the former articles tend to be written by the newsmakers themselves, and edited by the local editor.   That makes the job of the community editor fundamentally different, in that their news is submitted in inconsistent, unformatted, random email formats.  Because of that it is not easily encoded.  Also, much of the local news related to families, and is specific to ages, groups or genders.  Matching local news to relevant parties becomes possible when the news submission is pre-formatted.   


The Local News Network:  LNN

Community Newspapers can also choose to earn additional revenues through our Local News Network. We aggregates local news through traditional home town newspapers and distributes this to willing consumer subscribers on their mobile phones.  People who enroll for this news service receive customized information, filtered to their own interests that are delivered via simple text messages.  In the United States Alone, more than 150 million people read community newspapers each week.  For the first time, we are extending community news to the web and providing the scale for local media for the first time.  Consumers who subscribe specify the type of events they want sent to their mobile phone, such as children’s events, live music, senior activities, wine tastings, election notices, church events, parades, performances, museum exhibits, house tours, history lectures, non-profit events, civic meetings, public health alerts, school performances, adult education, holiday celebrations, Halloween walks, scout events, job fairs, ski trips, sports signups, Charity Balls, scholarship competitions, swim meets, swimming lessons, tennis clubs, road closings, book club meetings, and other events of interests to people who live in the same locale. 

The service is being piloted in Long Island, which is the eastern suburbs of New York City, and home to 2.5 million people.  The pilot is being conducted with local newspaper publisher, Litmore Publications, and once the initial pilot completes will be extended to all of Long Island and then all of local community news providers New York City metropolitan area.   Following that it will be rolled out to the rest of the United States, then Canada, and through regional partners, to the rest of the world.  

Local, mostly regional, news publishers are the heart of this service.  They service local communities by reporting on neighborhoods and sharing the local calendar of events that families and local residents need to know about.  Web tools are being provided to them which will greatly reduce their own work in assimilating news from their recurring newsmakers, who provide the vast majority of content for local press.  This will reduce the amount of labor and time needed to prepare local news for print publication and web posting.   This will also facilitate the organization of news data into calendar and alert oriented formats and enhance the content for inclusion on the web.  Over the long term, this will ultimately also enable our company to formulate a massive local news web site, which will ultimately make us the most relevant medium in the world; this is because we will be formulating the data for web display and our system can ultimately allow local news editors to replace their typically “low tech” and under-monetized web sites with something far more relevant, better organized, and with more links to other locales.  In other words, our product interface will eventually allow auto-creation of local news web sites, while allowing local editors to retain control of content and editorial functions.

Our local news alerts services are sometimes attractive to certain larger newspapers, which have suffered with the massive erosion of print as a medium.  Many of them have been forced to cut back on local coverage to conserve money.  However, this opens up mobile as a platform to them with a new, material benefit to their regional audiences, and lets them customize their publication to the reader with more granularity than could be done with print.     

As this is a paid service, there are nonetheless some advertising opportunities, as an opt-in for consumers, filtered by area of interest.  One of these is real estate.  For example, subscribers will be able to add themselves to a watch list of homes for sale in their neighborhood in their price range, specifying the upper and lower cost of the homes they want to see.  A mainstay for many local papers is real estate advertising already, so these ads are already being sold for print, and the infrastructure already exists. 

All of the above features and services will be complemented by iPhone, Blackberry, and Android applications which will allow query of the calendar and events databases.  This will allow consumers to proactively inquire about local events, religious worship schedules, election notices, etc.