The culture secretary Ben Bradshaw has announced the preferred bidders for the three independently funded news consortia (IFNC) pilots to replace ITV regional news in Scotland, Wales and the Tyne Tees/Border area.
The preferred bidders are:
Scotland ? Scottish News Consortium (SNC) (major newspaper groups Johnston Press, Herald and Times Group, and D C Thomson along with independent TV production company Tinopolis)
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 ? Wales Live (UTV, the current Channel 3 licence holder in Northern Ireland together with NWN Media Ltd ? a regional newspaper print and publishing company)
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 ? News 3 (Trinity Mirror, Press Association and independent TV production company, Ten Alps)
News 3 offered a completely new multi-platform studio based at the Newcastle 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.
Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said: ?This is an important step towards our goal of ensuring choice for people who value high quality, independent local news. I?d like to congratulate all the bidders involved and all the members of the independent panel who under the Chairmanship of Richard Hooper have worked tirelessly to complete a thorough and rigorous process to ensure the preferred bidders are the right choice for Scotland, Wales and the Tyne Tees/Border region.
?The funding available to these consortia represents a massive commitment from this Government to help encourage the long term sustainability of news in the nations, locally and in the regions. I hope this focussed work will now continue with everyone working together to ensure these pilots are up and running by the end of the year.?
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 IFNCs will receive Government funding totalling ?47 million over a two year period.