Old UK media group gets on the mashup cluetrain

According to the Media Guardian regional media group Archant is to ramp up its classified advertising, to fight back against the drain of ad revenue to online rivals, with a property website called Homes 24.co.uk.

Now ordinarily this would be of only passing interest to TechCrunch UK, largely because most of the time newspaper groups simply put up Web 1.0 shovel-ware and just reprint the paper ads online. This time however, Archant appears to have engaged brain with strategy and hired Rosetta in Amsterdam, a self-styled developer of software for classifieds and communities.

The result is a Google Maps mashup with which allows home-hunters to identify and zoom in on available properties. To fund development, Archant is offering free advertising for estate agents who pay only when consumers organise viewings through the site.

The service launches first in Norfolk and will no-doubt hit London as well given that Archant also runs the Ham & High in North London. In fact Archant’s flagship title, the Eastern Daily Press, is even running video bulletins which appear to be in Quicktime.

Perhaps someone ought to tell them they should make the viddies shareable, thus extending the footprint of breaking video news about Norfolk across the globe?

One final question though – could Archant not have found a UK-based developer to do this mashup between its classifieds database and a Google Map? Answers on a mashed-up postcard please…