As you’ve probably realized, local news is undergoing a massive transformation. The rapid demise of “old media” has resulted in fewer local publications, and it’s likely that in a few months your local paper may no longer exist. As “new media” takes over, users will be faced with a plethora of choices to consume local news. This is great news for most (no pun intended), but it comes at a price: the vast network of local blogs and news sites is difficult to navigate and peruse. Enter Fwix, a real-time local news aggregator that automatically curates news from a multitude of sources and delivers them to you via their website, Fwix.com. Fwix, which has seen over 100% monthly growth from November to December, is now bringing their solution to mobile.
Today, Fwix announces their “City Apps” which are local news applications for the iPhone and WebOS platforms. Much like Fwix’s online service, each application is specific to a city or general area, such as SF Bay Area, Minneapolis-St. Paul, or Los Angeles. Though Fwix.com is available for 150+ cities, Fwix only offers 6 city apps for mobile. Sorry Louisville and Oklahoma City: better luck next time. Fwix already has an application for the iPhone, but these are city-specific and offer new features. Available cities are San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.
According to CEO Darian Shirazi, who started Fwix at just 22 years old, Fwix.com differentiates itself from the plethora of local news competitors by providing both professional/mainstream content and blog or “indie” content. They index a large set of sources and focus on real-time news, which as we all know, is a hot topic these days. Fwix’s biggest competitor, Topix.com, is the heavyweight in the local news aggregation market, and has been in business since 2002. Other competitors include content companies such as CBS, ABC and NBC, which have various mobile and web properties related to providing professionally-created local news.
Darian told me that Fwix.com has seen significant growth since it’s inception a year ago, with over 500K unique visitors per month to their website and over 9 million visitors to sites that have the Fwix widget installed. They only get 30% of their traffic through SEO, which is a shockingly low percentage for a site like Fwix.
The mobile applications offer a slick user interface and a near real-time flow of news stories. One cool feature is the ability to view the stories on a map of the area – with the location of each story being denoted by a pushpin on the map. You can download the apps on iTunes.