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NBC launches 10 hyper-local city apps to woo advertisers

NBC Local Integrated Media launched 10 applications for iPhone and iPod touch, each backed by an NBC Locals Only city-specific Web site.

The applications were designed to connect users with the latest in local news, information and entertainment. Users can also contribute to content with personal photos and observations about their city life in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York, San Diego, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Connecticut or Miami.

?The strategy behind the launch was to bring our content to our target audience - mobile is where they consume content as the trendsetters and city-dwellers,? said Katherine Wu, vice president of business operations at NBC Local Integrated Media, New York. ?We wanted to give great content and take advantage of the iPhone platform and these apps allow us to deliver a lot of fun.?

NBC Local Integrated Media oversees the digital operations for the NBC Local Media Group, including its 10 city Web sites.

The Locals Only Web and mobile sites are home to local news, commentary, analysis and lifestyle coverage created by NBC-owned-and-operated television stations, contributors, bloggers, online publications and print media, all to illustrate the city as a whole.

There was no launch sponsor for the application. But Ms. Wu said there are several opportunities for advertisers to get on board.

Advertisers can use the iPhone?s GPS functionality to serve location-based ads or place advertisements on the splash screen as well as other places such as next to articles and traditional banner ads at the top of the page.

The applications leverage NBC's SoMyCity social media feature.

SoMyCity lets iPhone and iPod touch users post personal moments on the applications as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

The various applications feature exclusive content, such as New York?s fashion blog, The Thread and Dallas? Dallas Cowboys blog, Blue Star.

All of the applications have several viewing options, including a photo-based version of the sites' top headlines and user-submitted content.

The images vary in size so that the top stories are most prominent.

Additionally, news items can be refreshed with a shake of the device.

Ms. Wu said there is no target age group. Rather, the application is for those who love their city and know what is hip and happening, and want to share that information with others.

?Our target audience uses the newest tech, and the iPhone and iPod touch users are obviously in that group,? Ms. Wu said. ?We felt our approach was highly visual and we use the iPhone platform to make it different than a standard newsreader application.

?Because we?re targeted to city locals, we understand they commute underground so our apps are available from a content standpoint when our users or offline,? she said. ?They want to stay connected.?