In just about one year's time, Pitchengine grew from two to seven Community News Streams. Each News Stream has been successful at pulling-in loads of new, avid readers and more importantly, proven that Pitchengine's new, lightweight model of local news is both viable and sustainable.
Since 2011, Pitchengine has been experimenting with ways to change the local media landscape starting with their first Community News Stream, County 10™ — which exploded out-of-the-gate to become one of Wyoming's leading news sources all by itself. The company systematically tested content types and advertising units along the way as they grew and expanded their "owned" streams. Today, Pitchengine Communities represent the largest media organization in Wyoming with more than 7.5 million page views per month (the next closest is the state's largest newspaper which reports around 2 million page views).
Now, Pitchengine is opening up their proprietary platform to everyone, specifically small newspapers. They're betting the Community News Stream can replace or live alongside many existing news brands as a profitable alternative to RSS driven websites on web 1.0 platforms like Wordpress.
"To be honest, we set out to beat newspapers, but along the way, realized we may have just found a way to save them," said Jason Kintzler, Pitchengine's Founder and CEO.
First, news consumers have moved to free, digital mediums for content. At the same time, local media outlets have not been able to monetize digital effectively. In the last decade, newspaper revenues have fallen 20 billion dollars — from 64B in 2000 to just 19B in 2014. And, the number of newspaper jobs have plummeted to all-time lows.
"And no one is insulated — not even small town newspapers as some would assume," he explained, "Journalism isn't dead, but the traditional publishing model is, and we have developed the only alternative that's working," Kintzler added.
Kintzler said the key to success for online news in the modern era is monetization and digital advertising hasn't been able to do that for newspaper. Instead, small businesses are turning outside the industry to platforms like Facebook for advertising.
"This only deepens the problem and accelerates the spiral downward," he said. "Local media and local advertisers need to be reconnected around their community and that's what we're going to solve."
Pitchengine is becoming a digital platform for local publishers to connect their relevant content with readers. With Pitchengine, businesses and organizations are able to publish sponsored stories and display ads directly into News Streams using the platform. Transactions are automated with revenue passing from advertiser to publisher directly.
"We've been able to make the process nearly "frictionless" as compared to older methods. Especially as it relates to placing a print ad," Kintzler said.
On the flip side, Pitchengine has proven that they're experts in reach and engagement. The explosive growth of Pitchengine Communities is a direct-correlation to the mobile-first and real-time publishing approach they've created. With 7.5 Million page views per month, Pitchengine makes a compelling case for their platform as a solution to the online publisher dilemma.
"Our goal has always been to connect communities around news and information. Now, by opening up the platform, we can empower publishers and advertisers to do the same," explained Kintzler.
Pitchengine is currently in talks with established media outlets and newer online publishers to be among the first to join the platform. If you're interested in utilizing Pitchengine Communities to publish news to your local audience you can sign up here: http://pitch.pe/2922hpM
Pitchengine is a publishing platform whose products are used by more than 50,000 brands and small businesses worldwide. Best known for easy-to-use marketing software, Pitchengine is used by the world's largest brands including Walmart, Pepsico, Budweiser and more. Pitchengine is opening up their innovative Communities Platform to small publishers worldwide beginning in July 2016.