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24hourlondon is building a profitable media product backwards

By Emma Hartley - Wed, 27th Oct 2021

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This is going to be nerdy.

It turns out that all along 24hourlondon has been building a media product backwards. We started out by getting some users, 12k+ of whom have downloaded us for the info about late night London.

Then we built some advertising software to monetise ourselves (which we're piloting right now, building a media kit). And when we've got some revenue we'll start adding more content, in editorial form. So we'll end up being like a cross between Time Out and the Evening Standard – but profitable.

The advertising software is what really sets us apart, though.

After we'd finished building it last year, lockdown was in full swing so our late-night-London content wasn't very useful. But it gave us plenty of time to think about what we've built.

At the moment around 70% of the world's online advertising revenue goes to only two companies: Google and Facebook. And the form of advertising that they have invented is called "programmatic digital advertising". It gathers people's personal data and uses it to decide which ads are placed in front of them. 

24hourlondon's adware, on the other hand, does something completely new. Instead of mining people's data and using it to target advertising, our adware serves offers and promotions when our users pass through a geofence around a defined location: probably a retail or hospitality business, though it could be anything. We know nothing about our users apart from their physical location and that they are interested in late-night London – and from my kitchen table in Bow I can throw a geofence around anything in the world and that geofence will be detectable by our users. It's a global advertising network in an app.

Our software is designed to promote footfall for businesses, as opposed to the "eyeballs" that programmatic digital advertising claims to provide. "Claims" is the operative word, though. If an estimated 60% of the world's internet traffic these days is non-human, by deduction so are 60% of the so-called "eyeballs". And it's impossible to prove that someone has looked at something online. This book is very good on the problem.

So what we've built should theoretically be more valuable to advertisers than the dominant form of advertising right now because it produces actual footfall: people will walk into high street businesses as a result of receiving one of our promotions, because they received it as they were walking towards the business with money in their pockets. Our innovative voucher technology can also prove that our users were inside the building when they redeemed the offer. #supportlocal

Also, because the only way to advertise with any business using our software is by buying from them directly and being added to their offers map, we have solved one of the major social ills caused by Google and Facebook.

Advertising is what used to keep newspapers honest. Advertisers didn't want their ads next to dodgy stories, so the papers with high standards of honesty and truthfulness were the ones that attracted the most advertising revenue. It was their reward for being good at what they did.

Programmatic digital advertising severed the link between advertisers and the locations where their advertising goes. Many advertisers are frequently horrified to see what kind of websites their ads have ended up on: counterfactual, politically worrying websites. Or websites whose content makes no sense because their only purpose is to siphon off advertising revenue. The algorithms that place programmatic digital adverts make no moral judgement about the content next to which they appear.  

By re-establishing that link, our advertising software can contribute to eradicating "fake news", allowing advertisers to know exactly where they're spending their money.

So 24hourlondon's adware (1) elegantly allows the monetisation of content apps that are free at the point of download, which will be good for the news and music industries, to name only two. (2) It also addresses the problem of "fake news" while (3) diversifying the advertising market at a time when diversification never been more desperately needed. Google and Facebook simply wield too much power.

The media is an unfashionable investment because Google and Facebook have sucked all the advertising revenue out of it. But because our groundbreaking adware addresses this very issue, 24hourlondon is a massive opportunity to invest in a technology that disrupts the disruptors. No one in the media currently has an app that is free at the point of download that is also a profit centre, so we will not be cutting across any successful monetisation strategies – choosing us should be a no-brainer.

And we can even offer it to media businesses for free in return for 10% of their resulting mobile ad revenue, so no investment needed from clients up front. 

We're looking for partners and investors. We'd love to hear from you.

we to talk about late nights!