Sunday, October 14, 2007

MPs Fight ITV Regional News Cuts

It seems to be completely mad that ITV wish to but their regions from 12 to 9. ITV Meridian plans to axe the programme which serves the South East and replace it with one which covers an area from Southend to Weymouth, and up to Swindon. At a time when the internet means that localised services are expanding all the time, ITV is moving to centralise their news operations. Perhaps the day of local TV news really is over. Several South East MPs have tabled an EDM, no doubt recognising that their chances of being covered at all under these new plans are negligible. Their EDM reads...
That this House notes with grave concern the plans put forward by ITV to reduce
its number of regional newsrooms from 17 to 9; further notes with particular
concern its proposal to merge the three current Meridian regional news
programmes; believes this would lead to the loss of a dedicated service for
Sussex and Kent and radically reduce the provision of local information to
viewers in the South East; further believes that such a merger would equate to a
neglect of public service broadcasting commitments by ITV and would presage the
end of local output on the channel; and calls upon the Government to press Ofcom
to refuse its approval for the merger.

The MPs are no doubt right in their fears. Perhaps now is the time to launch a regional internet TV station. There's no reason why, for comparatively little outlay, the ITV companies couldn't do that themselves.

20 comments:

John Trenchard said...

a pity that ITV are doing this. during the floods this summer their local coverage was so much better than the BBCs local output. I remember one evening when BBC South Today only gave about 5 minutes to the floods (obviously to cover up for the Dear Leader Brown) but ITV was there in spades in Oxfordshire and Berkshire giving live outside broadcasts and constant updates. Very impressive.

I hope they change their mind. In today's media - what with the internet and all that - is that localism matters more than ever.

Anonymous said...

grade wants to scrap all of ITV's public service remits. where will that leave his NATIONAL political shows, let alone his regional politics and news. ITV is an utter joke.

jsfl said...

If ITV do this they might as well provide news from Outer Mongolia as from Swindon. In reality as one is as remote to those of us in Kent as the other.

I agree Ofcom should block this and fully support the MP's EDM.

I don't agree with the Internet idea as it does not provide everyone with the same service.

Members of my family are not internet attached and likely never will be.

If ITV cannot provide a dedicated service to the South East they should be made to sell the franchise to another company who will and any public service related benefits should be passed on as well!

Anonymous said...

1. They're not ITN cuts, they're ITV cuts.
2. ITV already has a network of regional news stations, itvlocal.com.
3. The current regional structure is based on the requirements of analogue transmitter locations, and precious little else. The London region serves over 10 million viewers while the Border region serves about one million. A redrawing of the map for a digital age is perfectly logical.

(I have no affiliation with ITV.)

strapworld said...

Having lived for over thirty years in the South east then another 15 years in the South West I believe that the local news supplied by both the BBC and ITN are for the brain dead.

Anything that will bring more substantial coverage would be appreciated by me. But this would not be appreciated by local politicians and MP's who, instead of getting out talking to their constituents, are happy to rely on these channels. Close em all down.

JakeW said...

"A redrawing of the map for a digital age is perfectly logical."

right. so having the same TV news from cheltenham to lands end is logical? or merging nottigham news with birmingham? or the area weymouth to oxford to kent??

Dont buy the 'digital age' bull. ITV have gained spectrum, top EPG space and massive amount of freeview bandwith for next to nothing - they are supposed to provide public service elements like regional news in return.

Ofcom were also supposed to advertise new local freeview licences, so smaller local news channels could launch, but they have failed to make progress - this despite research that told them that LOCAL news (not religion, politics, arts or childrens) was the most valued element for viewers.

Added to the fact that sky are currently breaking ther law by refusing to add new channels to their EPG its not looking good for any non-london voices on TV

Diablo said...

More interesting than this is Yasmin Alibi-for-Labour Brown on the BBC News 24 paper review. She thinks it was a bit strange that Brown/Darling stole Conservative ideas.

Shock horror! Brown criticised by another complete raving nutter!

We've already had Polly Toynbee. What next? Are normal sane people going to spot that Brown et al are empty vessels lacking "vision", without ideas and reduced to "fighting dirty"?

Oh no, that's already happened.

IanP said...

It makes perfect sense if you look at the proposed regional map of England, as proposed by the EU, endorsed by all the major parties.

get ready for regionalisation of everything.

spotthewasteofspace said...

I am reliably informed by one of my associates that Chris Paul:

(http://chrispaul-labouroflove.blogspot.com/)

has decided to take a Sabbatical from blogging. His site will be free of any kind of meaningful content for the foreseable future - or should that be the foreseeable past too?

He hasn't been quoted as saying that "Nobody reads it anyway and now the Tories are in such a commanding lead in the country I have decided to spend more time on local issues - the box room needs painting and the back gate needs some new hinges."

Friends of Chris Paul had mixed reactions. One (who did not wish to be named in case of being ridiculed) said: "Is Chris a blogger? I didn't know. He always seemed like a normal sort of bloke."

An old school friend was more forthcoming: "Yeah. I remember him. Short sort of fellow? About 7 years old? What more can I say?"

So there we have it. Another non-story about Chris Paul. Perhaps this will be the way he is remembered? Just another non-story.

Mike Rouse said...

BBC are already there.

Anonymous said...

I assume ITN don't have the £3.5 billion a year to play with that the BBC get through strong arm tactics (i.e. the threat of prision). It's a shame as I much prefer Meridian's local news reporting compared to the BBC's South Today.

Anonymous said...

I see that Dr Cameron is having another pop at Gordon Brown in the comments section to Janet Daley's column in today's Telegraph...

"The idea that Gordon Brown has a moral compass inherited from his clergyman father is wholly false. From the time I knew him first at Edinburgh University he has been completely self-obsessed and no hurdle of whatever nature has been allowed to stand in the way of his career. Any occasion in which one of his actions proved to be beneficial to British society or in line with traditional Christian thinking is entirely co-incidental.
Posted by Dr John Cameron on October 15, 2007 6:34 AM"

Colin said...

I sometimes watch the 'points west' headlines after the BBC news bulletins. There is rarely, very rarely, anything worth watching in the local TV news, yet it gets a solid 25 minutes of airtime after the 'Six'. Face it guys, local news is not suited to national television stations. No-one's interested in the doings of Little Twiddle District Council's planning committee outside the good burgers of Little Twiddle itself and that's what the Little Twiddle Bugle (weekly, 50p) is for. Far better for local consortia to set up localised narrow-casting stations serving their communities and leave that national broadcasting (and I emphasise the 'broad' as opposed to 'narrow')organisations to do what they do best - serving national audiences. Only when we are rid of these obligations to 'do everything' will the BBC, ITV & co be able to balance their books.

A good start would be for the BBC to cut back on the ridiculuous BBC Three which reaches 87 pimply 'yoofs' in a Swindon bus shelter at best and consumes many millions of the poor bloody licence-payers' money. Ditto the grandiose-sounding 'BBC World' which we pay through the nose for and cannot even watch from this country - it should be a subscription service supplied to hotels and other subscribers world-wide where expats blubbering into their G&T's can muse on faded Reithian glory.

Anonymous said...

Cant agree with John Trenchard's criticism of BBC local coverage of the floods.

In the West Midlands the BBC Midlands To-day's coverage and reporting was excellent and they were quite robust in their criticism of the government's flood defence policy failures and the failure of local councils to deploy the flood barriers in time because of the government reducing funding.
And they take an independent line from London in their criticism of government policies affecting the region;local MPs who spout rubbish including government ministers(of whom we have several ) are quite often given tough "grillings" over government policy announcements etc

new world order said...

There is no point in free democracy because it only confuses the masses! What the masses want is ONE news agency that educates the people in socialism and the party line! The ordinary masses dont want local news because it often conflicts with the common good/national cause! All these different sources of news and information is much too ineficient and disjointed and it only upsets the masses who are not educated enough in the bigger picture of the comming socialist workers utopia! There is in place now a class of leader in Europe who are moving heaven and earth to bring about the new socialist vision to first the EU and then the world! Free democracy is dead, long live the new socialist world order!

Chuck Unsworth said...

Saint Bob Geldof has already got in on the act by backing something called Kent TV.

I don't think it's anything to do with transvestites - but you never know with Bob....

Paul Walter said...

Iain, I think you need to correct your title. This is absolutely NOTHING to do with ITN, as has already been pointed out.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree that this looks like moore EUssr regionalism by the back door.
Probably find that the 2500 jobs to go at the BBC will be created by streamlining along EU regional boundaries. By getting rid of the County based Radio stations.
Personally still cant speak Gilbralton.

Paul Walter said...

Apologies. This is STILL nothing to do with ITN but they run the ITV London news service, which is where the confusion comes from I suspect. However, the London news service is not impacted by the changes. So ITN are not impacted. All the regional news services impacted are run by ITV, not ITN.

Anonymous said...

Why should ITV make regional news? It's a private company and the BBC is the public service broadcaster.

For sure, having access to the airwaves implies responsibility but with the internet and the BBC at it, surely MPs can probably find better things to do with their time?

It would help if they legislated for something watchable on ITV instead.