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June 11 2010

14:23

More from #JNTM: Flawed thinking behind government local TV plans

Following on from the previous post, another government policy up for criticism at this week’s Journalism’s Next Top Model conference was the much-mooted local TV plans.

This was a recurring theme of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s speeches while in opposition, and this week he announced that Nicholas Shott, Head of UK Investment Banking at Lazard, will “look at the potential for commercially viable local television stations within the local media landscape right across the nations and regions of the UK.”

Roger Parry - credited with much of the thinking behind Hunt’s proposals – backed the plan, seeing it as being more about local multimedia than local TV. He expected around 80 local TV stations to be made available on Freeview with a consumer-focused mix of programming (gardening, DIY, etc.) and sponsorship rather than spot advertising.

But Clare Enders (Enders Analysis) and Will Perrin (Talk About Local) were hugely sceptical of the commercial basis for a local TV market in the UK.

Enders pointed out that while local newspaper advertising was worth £2.6bn this year, £1bn of that came from classifieds – a form that doesn’t translate to TV (ITV’s previous experiments with ‘video classifieds’ was, she said, a “disaster”).

She also highlighted the vast differences between the US local TV market – where national networks support state affiliates and states have their own “separateness” – and that in the UK where, she predicted, impending budget cuts “will kill some local economies – not inspire ad growth. It will get worse.”

“[Local TV] hasn’t panned out and my goodness has it been looked at in the past couple of decades.”

November 30 2009

10:09

BBC Radio 4 Today: Pay walls discussed with @ruskin147 and @emilybell

This morning’s Today Programme discusses pay walls with BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones; Emily Bell, director of digital content at the Guardian; and Roger Parry, former chair of Johnston Press.

Johnston Press is – from this morning – to start charging for web access to some of its regional newspapers.

Cellan-Jones says it will be a ‘real test of the appetite of readers to actually pay for what’s online’.

Emily Bell makes the distinction between ‘paid content’ and ‘pay walls’; while she is sceptical about the future success of pay walls, people might be willing to pay for an iPhone app, for example, she says.

Full post at this link…

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