Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Is local TV heading for an online or co-operative future?

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by Mark Smith

The broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, has just published a report that looks into the different technical options for broadcasting local, commercially-viable, television to some of the major towns and cities in the UK.

Before the coalition government was formed in Westminster, a batch of new local television news providers was chosen to pilot different services around the country, including those currently delivered by ITV Wales News. However, the arrival of the Conservative/Lib-Dem administration led to those plans being shelved.

It’s now believed that the Conservatives, in particular, favour hyper-local television, with plans for stations to be run in Cardiff and Swansea, among many other locations. The report has thrown up two interesting points for me:

  1. As broadband is listed as one of the options for delivering the hyper-local stations, what can be done to ensure the number of possible viewers is maximised? If people can’t access the service, what’s the point of delivering it?
  1. With all the talk of the ‘Big Society’ and ‘citizen journalists’ coming at a time when the BBC and ITV are continuing to make significant cuts, is the door open for a more ethical alternative in sustaining such businesses? What about the stations being run by media co-operatives, with a lot of input from communities? I know the report doesn’t look into ownership structures, but it’s something that I feel is worth giving serious consideration to by the powers-that-be.

Written by C Kenzie

September 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Posted in co-operatives

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