Trinity Mirror and Macmillan Media launch bid to provide TV news in the south of Scotland

THE publishers of the Daily Record newspaper has joined forces with the producers of Scottish news opt-outs on GMTV to bid for a TV news pilot in the south of Scotland.

Trinity Mirror and Macmillan Media are hoping to provide local news in Dumfries and Galloway and also the Scottish Borders.

They are doing so as UK government invites bids from ‘news consortia’ for public funding to run pilot TV news services in three parts of the UK: Scotland, Wales and the north-east of England.

While there is no specific invite to run a publicly-funded pilot only in the south of Scotland, Scotland is only part-served by news provided by STV.

Currently, the south of Scotland is catered for by the Tyne Tees’ ITV station operating in Gateshead, near Newcastle.

STV has already intimated its desire to bid for the Scotland pilot, as has a consortium of three newspaper publishers: Newsquest (publishers of The Herald), Johnston Press (publishers of The Scotsman) and DC Thomson (publishers of the Press and Journal).

The Trinity Mirror/Macmillan Media bid appears to be banking on STV winning the right to operate the Scotland pilot but not having the resources to extend its news-gathering operation into the south of Scotland.

When allmediascotland asked Trinity Mirror whether it plans to also bid for the Scotland-wide pilot, a spokesperson said: “We have been in discussions with a number of potential partners over a bid for the news pilot for the whole of Scotland and these are still ongoing.”

The pilots – to operate from next year – are being set up in recognition of the fact that existing providers, such as STV in central and north Scotland, are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain their output, but that an alternative source of news is needed to that provided by the BBC. Advertising revenue that a TV station such as STV could once rely upon is now being lured away by an ever-increasing number of rival TV channels.

Trinity Mirror’s S&UN local newspapers’ division owns the likes of the Dumfries and Galloway Standard.

In a statement issued by Trinity Mirror, it said: “Bulletins would be produced entirely in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders. At the moment the service comes from Gateshead. Video journalists working in the heart of the region’s towns and villages would provide an enhanced local news service. The service will have its own companion website and provide open access and multimedia training for community groups.”

The statement quotes the company chief executive, Sly Bailey, saying: “This will give communities in the south of Scotland back their voice on TV. With our partners, Macmillan Media, we aim to deliver an enhanced, low-cost model for the local TV news of the future.”

Trinity Mirror has also launched a bid for the English news pilot region, with Ten Alps and the Press Association.