DataSphere, a hyperlocal enabler and sales agent for local media companies, says that Northwest TV and radio giant Fisher Communications has now sold more than 1,000 hyperlocal advertisers using Datasphere’s neighborhood-specific content and sales system. The system is now in more than 43 neighborhoods served by Fisher TV stations in Seattle, 40 neighborhoods in Portland and additional neighborhoods in Boise. Each advertiser pays between $30 and $400 per month depending on the tier of services chosen.
DataSphere CEO Satbir Khanuja, a former senior executive at Amazon, says “our timing is precisely right.” He notes that many advertisers had experience with Google text ads, but that the company’s focus on enhanced profile display ads makes more sense. It also brings in more money. “They’d been paying 50 cents to $1 for the text ad, but we can bring in 10 times more from the account,” he says (or $5).
In terms of getting to conversion, the company’s focus on specific neighborhoods rather than DMAs has been key to successfully selling the local accounts and leveraging content from the local media partner and from local bloggers, who benefit from aggregating their audience. “They want to see ‘my neighborhood.’ Things that are really in their community,” says Khanuja.
In New Castle (WA), for instance, the whole town was talking about Blockbuster and the imminent closing of its local store, he says. The company got that. “It is also important that they’re calling from [Fisher’s] KOMO-TV News” rather than from a no-name provider, he says. “Our conversion is extremely high.”
Key categories for DataSphere in Seattle and other markets that it serves include groceries, drug chains, dentists and lawyers. “The categories are controlled by the [local] sales agents,” says Khanuja. “It is all green field.”
DataSphere has also launched in markets served by other media partners, such Providence, R.I. It supports more than 130 hyperlocal neighborhoods in all, including 40 in the Monterey,CA/Salinas areas in partnership with Cowles California and its area TV stations.
Fisher has invested $1.5 million in the company, an amount that was part of a $10.8 million B round. Ignition Partners was another investor. Khanuja says the hefty amount will be used to develop the software platform and launch “thousands” of additional neighborhoods. Fisher recently owned and then divested Pegasus News, another hyperlocal platform.