A different kind of hyperlocal
Jamal Edwards was a 16-year old kid in London who got a camcorder for his birthday.
He used it to start videoing the things he was interested in - the hip hop scene in London.
He began by taking the camera to local clubs and bars and filming up and coming acts he thought were interesting and good.
Then he started posting them on his website - SBTV.
This is niche programming that works.
Instead of trying to replicate what he already saw on TV or online, he simply followed his passion - passionately.
For the first three years the young entrepreneur 'acted as a one man band and single-handedly' delivered his fans footage showcasing all the leading names in the UK Grime scene. Artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder can be seen freestyling on SB.TV's channel. Recently, the company has sighted its aim to become a more 'diverse youth lifestyle broadcaster,' exploring more into other music than UK Grime music.
In the past year, the company has also taken off.
In March 2011, Jamal Edwards was featured in British newspaper The Observer, promoting what he called a 'guerilla operation.' Later that month it had been suggested that the company are expected to go into business with restaurant chain Nandos.
In August 2011, the brand's founder was seen starring in a Google Chrome advert, which tracked the emergence of SB.TV as one of the UK's leading youth broadcasters.
As Jamal did not go out and copy what he already saw on TV, so too to be successful in the niche market for burgeoning hyperlocal and particularly video-driven websites, it is important not to simply mimic what is already being done.
The answer is hyperlocal - but the 'locality' is realm as opposed to physical community.
This is a lesson that cable learned in its early days as well.
When cable first started, the cable channels were poorer immitations of what the networks had done - all things to all people - sports, entertainment, drama, etc..
In the early days, Discovery carried a nightly hour-long TV News show produced by the Christian Science Monitor.
Then, with MTV, cable learned niche.
Now online has to learn the same lessons.
Find your niche and pursue it with laser-like precision.
In many ways, the more narrowly focused the niche, the more successful you will become.
Out of a global online population of about 4 billion and climbing, you don't have to attract all that many followers to succeed.
* a tip of the hat to Pat Younge, Chief Creative Officer at The BBC for pointing this one out to me