Fisher Communications President/CEO Colleen Brown was awarded the Innovator of the Year award from Borrell Associates during Borrell's Local Online Advertising Conference in New York today.
Brown received Innovator of the Year for Fisher's launch of more than 100 hyperlocal Web sites, starting in August 2009, and for surpassing 1,000 individual advertising clients. Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell said the effort is notable because it represented a "counter-culture change" for a TV broadcaster to reach that many smaller businesses in such a viable, self-sustaining Internet venture.
"Hordes of local media companies are doing great, innovative things with their interactive operations," said Borrell. "But the cream of the crop are those who are delivering sustainable financial results for advertisers and for their companies. That was the deciding factor in selecting recipients."
Also claiming Borrell awards today are Long Island-based YourLI.com for Best Results for Advertisers and Princeton, NJ-based Shycast for helping local merchants. The awards were given out over lunch at the Grand Hyatt.
Borrell said Innovator of the Year had to score high in both results and financial viability. "We wanted to select someone who, through some unusual feat, created something that not only caused us to say, Wow!, but also delivered sustainable value to their company," he said.
The Fisher sites have URLs that bear both the neighborhood and the station, such as BellevueKOMO.com, and focus on that neighborhood. Borrell says initiatives such as Fisher's "Broadcast to Broadband" local sites need more than lip service from their top executive. "We believe that it's the CEO who creates the environment that spawns innovation, holds the bean counters at bay, and demagnetizes the interactive operations enough to allow it to grow in ways that traditional brand managers might thwart," he said.