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Regional publishers set to move into TV news

Regional newspaper publishers are gearing up to play a big part in the future provision of ITV news following a government report.

This summer’s Digital Britain report paved the way for new independent regional news consortia funded by top-slicing the BBC licence fee.

Now a host of regional press publishers are looking to put together bids to run TV news services in their areas.

They include Northcliffe Media in the South West, MEN Media in the North West, Johnston Press, the Herald and Times group and DC Thomson in Scotland, and Independent News and Media in Northern Ireland.

ITV has already made clear its intention to pull out of regional news, with regulator Ofcom anticipating that the current regional licence-holders will face a collective funding shortfall of up to £64m by 2012.

In the South West, Northcliffe Media has joined a consortium bidding to run the regional TV news services based in Bristol and Plymouth, where the company already has substantial newspaper interests.

Steve Anderson-Dixon, NML’s managing director for the South West and Wales, said: “Our newspapers and websites have a unique relationship with readers and users and the prospect of being able to extend that on to television is exciting.

“Our focus has always been to make local matter more and to support local communities to make a difference. I look forward to us further strengthening that relationship by giving people across the West Country truly local news on television.”

Meanwhile the three Scottish newspaper groups are set to team up with existing broadcaster STV to run the Channel 3 news service north of the border.

Tom Thomson, managing editor of the Newsquest-owned Herald and Times Group, said: “With almost a thousand journalists between the three groups we can certainly bring enhanced localness.”

In Northern Ireland, IN&M, publishers of the Belfast Telegraph, are already in talks with Bob Geldof’s television production company Ten Alps over a joint bid to run an independently funded news service there.

Michael Brophy, chief executive of IN&M (NI) said: “The combined strengths of these two great companies is both clear and effective. The Belfast Telegraph is perhaps Northern Ireland’s most respected brand, bringing with it the editorial strength of the largest newspaper news-gathering network in the province and a long history of fairness, excellence and sound judgement.”


Mark Forster (22/09/2009 13:13:16)
So these big newspaper groups can find the money for television projects, but are starving newspapers to death? Blimey. I presume they realise television wages are more expensive than some of the pittances I’ve seen being offered on this very website for qualified journalists.

Rob (22/09/2009 13:49:51)
Vanity project, anyone?

Onlooker (22/09/2009 14:05:45)
Folly upon folly. They may as well try opening a few lapdancing clubs,too. They’ll have about as much chance of making a success of them.

Mr_Osato (22/09/2009 15:16:27)
I’m sure this will be a great success, just like, err, Channel M…

Observer (22/09/2009 16:28:26)
What the hell is ‘enhanced localness’?
Tom, get a job in PR then someone might believe the crap you’re spouting. Us journos can smell BS a mile off, and this is a classic case.

Alan Moore (23/09/2009 10:00:28)
Advice for Regional news groups in the networked economy

cloakndagger (23/09/2009 12:06:39)
The point is that the govt has realised that it needs to fix two problems at once: an ailing newspaper business and an ailing regional TV news business. If there is state money available to smart newspaper groups to fix both broken models, surely they should go for it.

All Subbed Out (23/09/2009 13:09:13)
They likely as not won’t pay television wages, Mark Forster, as much of the work will end up being done by existing (or should that be ‘remaining’) newspaper staff on top of their already-burdensome workload for no extra recompense.