Accelerate Local: Toward membership models for local TV broadcasters


The House of Blues. Restoration Hardware. The Guardian. AAA. Amazon Prime. All run highly successful paid membership programs for consumers. Those organizations are part of a booming “membership economy.”

Could local TV broadcasters do the same? They have strong local brands and popular talent personalities, create engaging locally oriented content, and extend well into the community through events and other experiences.

LMA believes they should. Membership is a massive opportunity, and we are seizing it. Through Accelerate Local, LMA plans to create a new, first-of-its-kind development project to design and launch paid membership models for broadcasters.

It will be a two-part program. First, we will lead qualitative and quantitative research to deeply understand consumer behavior and wants around membership. What are consumers subscribing and belonging to today — in media, but also in other facets of life? What opportunities exist for a local media company to extend its brand into other services and experiences? We are engaging best-in-class research partners to begin work this fall.

Second, a design and go-to-market pilot will follow, building on the research findings and recommendations. Each company will construct its own offering. Accelerate Local will help source technology platform and fulfillment partners. We will also coordinate best practice sharing and collaboration across the participating company cohort, similar to what LMA has done with its partners for the Branded Content Project, the GNI Subscriptions Lab and the GNI Data Lab.

We will target 4-5 broadcast companies to participate. We expect to complete selection of the companies in the next two weeks. Later, we potentially will launch a similar membership program for newspapers, and possibly radio and magazines.

It is an exciting new business model for local media: a direct-to-consumer strategy with unprecedented brand extension opportunities.

If you are interested or would like to learn more, please email acceleratelocal@localmedia.org.