1 February 2015

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Highfield to press ahead with online TV channels

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield is pushing ahead with plans to launch a series of online TV stations for its newspaper titles.

Speaking at a media conference held by flagship daily The Scotsman, he said he was considering plans for channels at a number of the company’s newspaper websites.

The online TV channels would feature videos shot by journalists at the newspaper titles and he hoped the move would boost traffic on the publisher’s websites.

Ashley first revealed he was considering plans for TV stations at the company in January when he told BBC Radio Scotland he would like to create “mini ultra-local TV stations” for some smaller communities which were not served by the BBC.

Johnston Press is currently issuing all its journalists with new technology, including Smartphones which will allow them to shoot videos.

The Scotsman reported that at its conference of the future of the media, the chief executive said: “We are going to launch a bunch of TV channels.”   He also confirmed to the paper that this could include a “ScotsmanTV” model.

Ashley told the conference that he believed the company would still be printing newspapers 20 years from now, downplaying fears about the future of the industry.

He added that now was “the most exciting and maybe the most scary time to be in the business”.

The publisher is currently in the third phase of a relaunch programme at all its titles, which includes giving around 1,700 journalists a new laptop, mobile phone and Google Mail account, while all editors will receive iPads.


  1. JP Cost Cut Victim

    … and who is making it “scary”?

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  2. Harold, North Manc

    No Ashley, you won’t be printing newspapers in 20 years because you’ll have chucked a pile of cash at something no one will be interested in because the majority of your readers won’t watch or can’t be bothered watching badly shot guff on obscure channels, be it on satellite TV or through the internet. Those who do access information this way are part of a generation who are more bothered about their interests and friends than their community. Still, if you want to bring forward the end of newspapers, then go ahead, shoot …

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  3. ill-informed

    Harold, in 20 years time, that entire generation that you’re so glibly dismissing will be as engaged with their local community as your generation. They’ll have bought houses, they’ll care what’s happening at local schools, they’ll be interested in junior sport, they’ll want to know what’s going on with the hospital, they’ll be interested in the pictures from the family fun day, they’ll actively champion local charities, etc, etc.

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  4. Media Pundit, Wakefield

    @ Harold, North Manc – couldn’t agree more. Here’s an idea; why don’t JP raise their cover prices again and use all the extra revenue to pay this new initiative.

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  5. Scribbler

    (Cries)… we are already so thinly spread as to be almost non-existent, so to be expected to be sorting stuff for a mini-TV station is a bit beyond the pale. More staff are needed to dig out better stories that people actually want to read, not go down this pie-in-the-sky route of trying to compete with the big boys. Utter nonsense.

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  6. Billy Rae

    I wonder if those sites will get more visitors than the 3 people who clicked on to their (not very)wow247 site?

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