AddThis SmartLayers

Regional TV news consortia move step closer

Plans for local press groups to join new partnerships to deliver regional TV news moved a step closer as the government set out its future programme.

The idea, originally put forward in the government’s Digital Britain report this summer, has been included in the Digital Economy Bill unveiled in today’s Queen’s Speech.

But the bill contains no details about how the proposed news consortia – which will take over the provision of regional news on Channel 3 from 2013 – are to be funded.

The BBC is fighting plans to “top slice” £130m of licence fee revenue to pay for the move.

The pledge to introduce the bill was contained in one line of today’s Speech by Her Majesty opening the final parliamentary session before the general election.

“My government will introduce a bill to ensure communications infrastructure that is fit for the digital age, supports future economic growth, delivers competitive communications and enhances public service broadcasting,” she said.

Earlier this week the department for culture, media and sport revealed that licences to run the three pilot regional news consortia in Scotland, Wales and one English region will be awarded in March.

A number of regional press publishers included Johnston Press, DC Thomson, Trinity Mirror and Northcliffe are part of groups bidding for one or more of the licences.

Speaking at the Society of Editors conference on Monday, the BBC’s head of regions David Holdsworth reiterated the corporation’s opposition to the top-slicing idea, prompting one regional editor to complain that it is not interested in partnerships with the local press.

Hull Daily Mail editor John Meehan said the BBC was regularly “expressing great intentions” of working with the local press but claimed “nothing ever happens.”


Bluestringer (18/11/2009 15:55:43)
Oh great. The newspaper industry’s editorial cost-cutters are going to get their grubby hands on television news now as well. Stand by for loads of TV reporters getting the boot “to ensure we have a robust business going forward blah blah blah”

Newsman (18/11/2009 17:22:23)
To be honest Bluestringer, I think we can do as good a job as the BBC. Where do they get their stories from? Well, from us, as you can clearly see when you look at the regional news programmes. There’s very little fresh content on any regional news sites whether commercial or BBC. I’m all for doing more of this ourselves and keeping me and my friends in jobs.

jobhunter (20/11/2009 13:44:23)
I agree with Newsman.Despite what everyone says about regional press, we still provide the bulk of the stories. Very rarely to the BBC or ITV acknowledge this other than when they let the subject read the paper in shot.