The return of Local products?

Something occurred to me today in that odd way that ideas just all of a sudden appear in one’s brain.  It’s one of those weird thoughts that often times I just dismiss, ignore, or sometimes play out, only to realize later that it’s just a bunch of crap.

There’s all this reporting lately of the demise of big media – that the internet is killing establishments like The New York Times or NBC.  More specifically, that giving away their content for free on the internet was a bad business move and is destroyed their underlying business.

I’m not a fan of that perspective – I feel like a lot of content has already been ‘free’ – over-the-air TV and Radio, and even the nominal fee for a daily newspaper hardly covers the production costs.  They’ve been supported by advertising and my feeling is that they’ve got to figure out a way to make advertising work online.

So the idea today starts with this: It’s the low-cost barrier that the internet has enabled that is destroying old media – YouTube vs. NBC; blogs vs. New York Times.  This idea isn’t new and I believe it’s accurate.  People are more interested in the varying content online, and specifically they’re able to match content to their particular world-view better than they could with any of the large nation-wide media companies.

But here’s what hit me today: Advertisers are in the same boat as the old media companies.  Coca-cola is trying to reach a national audience (world-wide audience actually) and it’s going to get tougher and tougher to cater their message to the more and more niche markets represented by online media.  This represents an opportunity for local products to compete with their national/global competitors in the same way that local media now has the opportunity to compete with their national competitors.

Could we see the return of regional products like soda and beer? Restaurants & clothiers?  That prospect interests me – as one who likes to travel one of the aspects I enjoy is how different the world can be the further one gets from home – could it be that traveling to the next state over could be as it once was?  Will we see the products and services breaking into smaller regional offerings?