Credit: Billy Wilson on Flickr

Local news still largely relies on advertisement revenue and that is unlikely to change any time soon. The problem is that whatever ad money has not yet been grabbed by the big tech platforms is drying up and, as we have recently seen with Reach plc, focusing on page views to boost digital revenue is a bad idea.

A London-based tech startup came up with a new tech to monetise local content. Its app, 24hourlondon, uses geolocation to alert users about offers in local venues that pay to be spotlighted. Simply put, advertisers do not rely on website traffic but on people moving around the town to promote their businesses.

Here is how it works. When walking around a location, say, the city centre, the app user gets pinged a promotion in a shop or restaurant within a nearby radius. If they are interested, they can go to the venue to check it out.

"The ping can take you to any kind of commercial content, like article, a video or a survey," says Emma Hartley, journalist and co-founder of 24hourlondon. The notification ideally brings users to a local news website first.

Aside from generating revenue and traffic, marrying local advertising with visiting physical venues also has the potential to revive the high street.

It also provides a smoother user experience than a typical local news website and a way for advertisers to directly evaluate their return on investment. It comes with a verification method allowing the shopkeeper to validate a purchase by a customer so the businesses can measure how effective the offer was.

"Advertisers want to sit next to high-quality news, not next to misinformation or iffy news items," Hartley continues, adding that local stories are among the most trusted and valued news content that has far more potential to be monetised than it currently is.

Following its first year of operation, 24hourlondon is now seeking investment to expand its team, scale the tech and partner with local publishers.

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