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Council-run online TV station to be scrapped

A controversial council-run TV station that has cost the taxpayer in the region of £1.8m since its launch is to be scrapped next month.

Kent County Council anounced yesterday that it is to axe its internet TV channel Kent TV.

The council had fought a running battle with the Kent Messenger over how much public money was being spent on it.

After a series of freedom of information requests were blocked, the weekly title took its case to the information commissioner who ordered the authority to disclose the figure.

The channel was originally set up in September 2007 as a pilot project with March 2010 always earmarked as the point at which the trial period was due to come to an end.

It employs ten people, around half of whom are journalists.

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter said in a statement: “Kent TV has proved itself to be a brave and bold innovation and we have learned a great deal from it. It has provided a source of practical, useful information for residents.”

But he added: “We are living in different and difficult economic times compared with when the pilot was launched in September 2007. In difficult times our spending has to be prioritised. We have therefore decided that Kent TV will not continue when the pilot period ends in March 2010.”

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Trudy Dean said: “This is the right decision but it is unofrtunate that it has taken since last September to reach it and as a result the council wasted another £400,000 extending the contract.

“Community TV has to come from the community and Kent TV never did that. It was a top-down and the viewing figures were just not good enough to attract the revenue and sponsorship that was needed.”


Nigel Trapp (10/02/2010 13:15:07)
Well done KM. Not content with putting loads of your own journalists on the scrapheap, you’ve now played a major role in closing Kent TV and thus put several other media-types out of a job.

Debs (10/02/2010 13:26:46)
Well done KM for actually doing what journalists are paid to do! Last week, the KM revealed the £200 golden goodbye that KCC chief, Peter Gilroy will be getting. Don’t forget that this is taxpayers’ money, and the KM is absolutely right to hold KCC to account. As an ex-KM journo, I applaud Paul Francis’s intelligent coverage of KCC. If only there were more like him in the regional press. Sadly, most young reporters I know turn their nose up at covering council!

Debs (10/02/2010 13:27:54)
Correction to above: £200K

Graham Majin (10/02/2010 14:53:11)
Maybe the online video landscape has moved on? More about Kent TV on my blog.

Two_shanks (12/02/2010 10:47:29)
Well done the KM or well done Paul Francis? The KM group have all but given up South Kent, and have been trashing their own reporting teams, yet Paul Francis alone almost makes the cover price worth paying.
Repeatedly coming up with the goods, the guy deserves a medal.
p.s. I’m not an employee or fond of the KM group nor do I have any connection to Mr Francis!