Friday, 4 April 2008

ITV smoke and mirrors and freeview

ITV revised its proposals for re-framing regional news across the country. At first glance, they seem to have take some concerns on board - their emphasis is now on 18 sub-regions rather than the previously heralded 9 region 'solution'. The revised plans demonstrate one or two things; the pressure of the campaign is working, geographical switches show that they do not have a coherent strategy and, they recognise that localness is something that is valued. In a journalists Union it perhaps a occupational hazard to see conspiracies at every turn, but one does get the sense that the shady hand of Ofcom is present. In a related development, Ofcom announced its plans for HD on freeview. We have argued that a key part of delivering sustainable regional news and wider PSB objectives, can be met by use of digital terrestrial spectrum resources. ITV and others can be held to strong PSB commitments because, in return, they are given gifted or discounted preferential access to the freeview platform. Such incentives and obligations enabled ITV to grow and prosper in the analogue age, new remedies can be found in the digital age.

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