Yesterday, we held a press conference in Washington, DC to announce the launch of FiOS1, Verizon’s first local TV news and community information channel. We are fortunate to be partners with Verizon in this very exciting project, and now we can talk about it.
Verizon has made a massive commitment to become a major player in what was formerly the ‘cable’ world. They bring a lot to the table, and they are building and pushing FiOS, their fiber optic cable system, and getting clearances all over the country. FiOS delivers every channel that cable providers like Cox or Comcastdeliver and a whole lot more (like phone or Internet service). Of course, this is a very attractive platform.
About a year ago, Carl Spielvogel, former founder and Chairman of one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, Backer/Spielvogel/Bates and I formed a company, Hyperlocal News, to create a partnerhsip with Verizon. The concept: To build a chain of small, VJ-driven hyperlocal news ‘nodes’ unique to the FiOS system. We would place these nodes within the community and young VJs could go out and find stories really of interest to the community. At the same time, they would become magnets for the burgeoning ‘citizen journalist’ movement.
About 6 months ago, we started hiring and training the VJs for our first ‘node’. Today, they go on the air.
It is a very interesting model for a new kind of cable/broadband hyperlocal news, and for us, a fantastic partner to explore this new world.