Monday, 5 October 2009

Could regional 'print' companies be the saviour for regional ITV news?

So Ofcom has warned that regional news programming on ITV could be losing up to £64m by 2012.

That leaves a mighty hole in the budget given how much quality ITV now produces ... you know, like errr I'm a Celebrity, or errrm All Star Family Fortunes, ok,what about errrm Grimebusters, hmm.

Anyway, moving on ...

So more cost cutting looks to be on the cards after the last round of moneysavings announcements back in March. [Read all about it here, including which quality programming survived.]

So what will more cuts mean to the company's regional news coverage. More importantly, will we in Liverpool notice any more cuts from the Manchester-centric Granada news coverage?

ITV has been hit by the recession and the downturn in advertising spend, as well as increased digital competition. Everything the print media is well aware of.

So apart from axing ITV regional news altogether, what's the solution?

The government is now proposing to allow a consortia to bid for local news programmes.

Hmmm, who could go for that? Who has invested in video? What ... regional print news organisations you say. Of course.

Over in Manchester MEN's well established Channel M produces some excellent video packages, while in Liverpool Trinity Mirror's Liverpool Daily Post & Echo is leading the way with live interactive broadcasting [examples of which
you can view here]. Former print companies - now multimedia companies - across the region are producing video news packages on a daily basis. Many have invested heavily in video training and multimedia kit. But how many are making money on the back of that?

There's no doubt that more training and development is required to bring former regional print companies up to video broadcast standard, but the possibility is there for these companies to join forces to bid to supply video packages for ITV regional news services.

What better way to monetise video content. And what better way to finally improve Liverpool news coverage on Granada.

You can read Ofcom's full reports here.


Joanna Geary said...

Interesting post! What will repace local TV news is a hot topic at the moment. However, what concerns me is that there seems to be an implicit suggestion that what will replace ITV Local News will be something that looks and feels a bit like ITV Local News.

The consortia have a really great opportunity to rethink how local broadcast news looks and behaves.

It seems to me that to find merely a copycat substitute is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

Louise Bolotin said...

I don't have any answers as I rarely watch news on TV - when I do, it's either the 10 o'clock on BBC1 or coverage on News 24, although I sometimes catch the regional 6.30 bulletin on BBC1. I don't think I've watched ITN since pre-1991 (to be fair, I was abroad between 1991 and 2003!). I'd like to see some local innovation but if you want to take Channel M as an example, it's had millions pumped into it and hardly anyone watches it because it's so inaccessible. Rumour has it Channel M will get a Freeview channel soon, which might boost its reach but video packages aside, most Mancunians think Channel M is rubbish, which might be another reason why audiences are apparently so low. There's a long way to go, clearly, if there's going to be decent independent coverage of regional news on TV...

Anonymous said...

The problem with this scenario is the word 'regional'. In just the same way that you think Granada is Manchester-centric, Manchester believes its Liverpool-centric! and then who is interested in either city in news from the Lakes? and the poor people of Warrington must live in a vacuum.
Whether you're in TV or in in print, regional is a nowheresville. Local, hyperlocal or global. What's in between was created for ease of media distribution and is now outdated.Whether ITV, the BBC or anyone else can face that challenge remains to be seen and in the meantime web offerings like East Salford Direct will go truly local.

Alex said...

Interesting post, time will tell I suppose.