Local Media Association Announces Creation of Business Model Accelerator

After an intensive 15-month strategic planning process, the LMA board of directors and staff are excited to announce a bold and ambitious plan to create a Business Model Accelerator that will change the trajectory of the local media industry.

The Accelerator will vet, test, prove and execute promising news business models that will sustain local journalism by helping to transform local media companies and/or create brand new enterprises. It will focus on bold ideas that can be profitably scaled, in turn increasing the amount of local content in communities across North America and globally.

This initiative elevates the organization’s mission – to help local media companies discover new and sustainable business models – through an expanded focus on implementation and execution.

The Accelerator will take on multiple projects each year through a thorough research process and scoring methodology. Strict guidelines will be established to ensure that only business models that demonstrate the potential to scale profitably are accepted into and advanced through the program. Participating media partners will be required to commit dedicated resources to take part in the program.

LMA is in the process of securing funds to launch the Accelerator. Funding is expected to come from individuals, foundations, media companies, corporations and other entities that are passionate about the sustainability of local news.

The fully-scaled entity will be equipped to take on the biggest and boldest projects imaginable, including business models that don’t exist today. The Accelerator will be staffed with a dream team of talented professionals with expertise in data science, change management, user experience, design thinking, technology, marketing and more.

As promising business models emerge, the Accelerator staff will be embedded into partner companies to ensure successful deployment and execution. Training, workshops, playbooks, and on-demand partner support will augment the delivery of new models.

A number of differentiators distinguish the Business Model Accelerator from anything else in the industry:

  • A customer-centric approach will guide all projects, starting with robust customer research
  • Significant investment will be made in technology (both vetting existing technology and building new IP from scratch)
  • An extensive data warehouse will be built
  • This is a very long-term strategy (beyond the typical 12-20 week accelerators), with the 
acknowledgement that bold and disruptive ideas take time to develop
  • Embedding teams into partner companies is the biggest differentiator, ensuring that companies can execute new ideas successfully
  • Consistent with LMA’s mission, the Accelerator will be inclusive to the full local media ecosystem, with significant resources dedicated to ensuring that all types of companies will benefit from the work of the Accelerator

“This was a massive undertaking by the LMA board and staff,” said LMA President Nancy Lane, “We wanted to create something that would specifically address the issue of sustainable business models. If we don’t figure this out, local journalism will not survive. In nine years we have lost 32,000 newsroom jobs and that number continues to grow. We invite anyone interested in helping us fund this effort to step forward and be part of this bold solution.”

Everyone in the local media ecosystem is encouraged to sign up for LMA Accelerator updates here. We’ll share the latest information including how your company can participate and benefit from the Accelerator.

For more information or to learn about funding opportunities for the Business Model Accelerator, please contact Lindsey Estes at lindsey.estes@localmedia.org.