CNN Goes Hyper-Local With Investment In Neighborhood Aggregator Outside.In

 

Picture 2CNN.com has made an investment in the neighborhood-centric local news feed Outside.In, in what appears to be an attempt to fortify its hyper-local coverage, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The New York City-based start-up collects local news from blogs and listings, sorting the information by pinpointed location through doubtlessly complicated algorithms. The result is a search engine optimized product with little or no editorial flare or sign of curation, but a massive database of information akin to a super-RSS feed.

The site’s network boasts nearly 6 million unique visitors per month.

The site announced today a $7 million B round of financing, including start-up daddy Union Square Ventues and, yes, CNN Worldwide. “In our opinion, there has never been a better time to build a new business in local media. This round represents a huge vote of confidence from our investors and CNN Worldwide that they agree and believe our results and approach are positioned to win,” said Mark Josephson, CEO of Outside.in, in a press release. “The continued support of our investors shows our proven track record and their confidence that we will continue to focus on delivering huge value for all participants in the local media ecosystem—consumers, publishers, bloggers and advertisers.”

PaidContent astutely observes that CNN.com’s strategy mirrors that of MSNBC.com, which recently purchased a similar hyper-local site EveryBlock.

Read the entire release below, via PaidContent.

BROOKLYN, NY (December 8, 2009) – Outside.in (http://www.outside.in), the leading hyperlocal content and advertising platform, today announced the close of a $7 million B round of financing, led by Union Square Ventures and including CNN Worldwide, one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information as a strategic investor.  The round includes all previous venture investors, including Village Ventures, Betaworks, the New York City Investment Fund and Milestone Venture Partners, as well as continued support from a strong group of angel investors.

“In our opinion, there has never been a better time to build a new business in local media.  This round represents a huge vote of confidence from our investors and CNN Worldwide that they agree and believe our results and approach are positioned to win,” said Mark Josephson, CEO of Outside.in. “The continued support of our investors shows our proven track record and their confidence that we will continue to focus on delivering huge value for all participants in the local media ecosystem—consumers, publishers, bloggers and advertisers.

Said Fred Wilson, principal at Union Square Ventures, “Local media is undergoing a radical reinvention and Outside.in is at the center of it, providing readers, advertisers, publishers, and bloggers the tools they need to make local news and information more relevant and profitable. Outside.in’s reach has grown 500 percent in the past year, showcasing the power of this new model.”

As part of its investment, CNN Worldwide entered into a concurrent multi-year deal to use the Outside.in for Publishers aggregation and curation platform to power hyperlocal news across all of CNN.com and its related properties. The first implementations are expected to be completed in Q1 of 2010.

“We are proud to have partnered with Union Square Ventures, Betaworks, and others to support Outside.in during the next stage of its business evolution, as the company continues to build an industry leading platform serving the hyperlocal market,” said Estenson.  “Our strategic investment in this company and the hyperlocal platform they have built demonstrates our commitment to delivering a strong local news offering to our users.”

The funding round comes after a year of significant milestones for Outside.in.

More than one hundred media partners around the country now use the Outside.in For Publishers platform, including the New York Post, Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) Local, Media General (NYSE: MEG) and Chicago Tribune

Traffic to the Outside.in Network has grown to nearly 6 million monthly unique visitors

More than four thousand local bloggers use Outside.in’s distribution, geo-tagging and mapping tools

The funding will be used to support the continued development of the Outside.in platform for local content and advertising.

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