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Press publishers triumph in TV news licence bids

Six local press publishers will have the chance to produce and broadcast regional TV news after successful bids for the Independently Funded News Consortia were announced today.

Trinity Mirror, Newsquest, NWN Media, DC Thomson, Johnston Press and the CN Group have all been chosen to help run pilot news projects being launched in the Scotland, Wales and the Tyne Tees/Borders regions.

The scheme was outlined in last summer’s Digital Britain report with the eventual aim of providing local and regional TV news when the current Channel 3 licence expires in 2013.

The successful consortia announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport today are:

  • Scotland – Scottish News Consortium (Johnston Press, Newsquest’s Herald and Times Group, DC Thomson and independent TV production company Tinopolis)
  • Wales – Wales Live (NWN Media and UTV, current Channel 3 licence holder in Northern Ireland)
  • Tyne Tees/Border – News 3 (Trinity Mirror, Press Association, CN Group and independent TV production company Ten Alps)
  • Reserve bidders have also been announced for each of the three pilots:

  • Scotland – Scottish News Network (STV, ITN and Bauer Radio)
  • Wales – Tinopolis
  • Tyne Tees/Border – Great North News (led by ITN, with Johnston Press, Newsquest, Bauer Media and University of Sunderland)
  • The consortia will receive government funding totalling £47m over two years and will provide local news content across the web, mobile and other new platforms, along with the television slot currently occupied by ITV and STV regional news.

    Under legal requirements, there will be a ten day ‘standstill’ period and discussions on contracts are due to continue after this.

    Neil Benson, spokesman for the Trinity Mirror, Press Association and Ten Alps consortium, said: “We’re delighted to be chosen as preferred bidder for the Tyne Tees and Border region.

    “We believe we submitted a very strong, highly innovative bid and it’s fantastic to see that the selection panel and the secretary of state have recognised this.

    “All our partners are looking forward to working together to use our joint professional expertise to create an enhanced, multi-platform news service for the region.”

    Managing director of NWN Media David Faulkner said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement and look forward to working with our partner UTV and the local ITV Wales news team to bring Wales Live to life across all platforms.

    “Wales Live will reflect fully the needs of a devolved nation in conjunction with local and community media across both north and south Wales.”

    Selection panel chairman Richard Hooper said: “The members of the selection panel and I were most impressed by the quality of the applications.

    “In Wales and Scotland, in addition to strong proposals for regional, local and hyperlocal/community news, the bidders put forward credible ideas for quality news for those nations which is urgently needed as a result of devolution.

    “We asked bidders also to think about longer term sustainability without public funds.

    “Given the political uncertainties surrounding IFNCs, my colleagues and I were particularly impressed by the sustained enthusiasm and resource commitment of the bidders and the momentum that has built up to deliver innovative multi-platform multi-layered news.”

    Key features of the preferred bidders’ plans are as follows:


  • DCMS said: “SNC set out an imaginative and innovative cross-platform approach to news provision adding the reporting resources of its partner newspapers and a new website to a strong TV proposition. The proposals represented a clear sense of public value associated with a credible news alternative to the BBC in Scotland. The planned website would act as a portal to 130 local newspaper partner websites.”
  • Wales

  • DCMS said: “UTV proposed a model which would deliver a harder-edged TV news programme reflecting the needs of a devolved nation in conjunction with local and community media across both north and south Wales. A strong track record in Northern Ireland gave credibility to a clear vision for an innovative community-based approach in conjunction with citizen journalists and its newspaper partner, NWN Media.”
  • Tyne Tees/Border

  • DCMS said: “News 3 offered a completely new multi-platform studio based at the Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle offices and a strong offering of both news and news features. The bid promised a unique model for the future provision of local and regional news across different media platforms.”
  • Comments

    Mr_Osato (25/03/2010 12:50:45)
    Never heard such a load of gobbledegook – just hope that the bottom line won’t be reporters making films for the TV news inbetween subbing their own copy and uploading for the web.

    MardyMistress (25/03/2010 13:34:35)
    So £47 million from the Govt – will there be a slew of new journalism jobs then?
    Probably not.
    Considering the track record of JP and Trinity, it will all be done on the cheap with corners being cut all over the place.
    To start with they’ll probably hire very few extra reporters (if any) as they’ll just use stories from their newspaper staff, who’ll probably find their workload doubles overnight.
    Then someone pretty with a nice voice and no other recognisable skills will read it outloud and earn twice as much as the real talent.
    I predict they’ll follow every TV news cliche going. Which only works when Charlie Brooker adds in some sarcasm.
    I honestly expect it to be much worse than the existing awful ITV local news.
    JP and Trinity already do web-based news, so I can’t see what this is about. I imagine they’ll simply set up a new site with their existing content/wire copy repackaged.
    Or, as this quote suggests: “The planned website would act as a portal to 130 local newspaper partner websites”.
    In other words you type in where you live and it redirects you to the local rag’s website? That’s really innovative.
    This is not investment in journalism, it’s easy cash for newspaper companies and will probably create very few extra jobs.
    The Govt should have spent this £47m setting up trusts for not-for-profit independent local “news platforms”, rather than giving it to the likes of JP to pass on to its shareholders.