Conference expected to shed new light on Scottish news provision on Channel three

NEW light is expected to be shed on the future of news provision on TV screens in Scotland following a debate being hosted next month in Glasgow by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

Stewart Purvis, an Ofcom partner and former chief executive of ITB is speaking at a conference looking at TV content for Scottish viewers, including news provision on Channel three.

A recent Westminster government report on Britain’s digital future – Digital Britain – selected Scotland, Wales and an as yet unnamed English region to pilot independently-financed news consortia (IFNCs) – alliances of television producers, newspaper groups, radio stations or websites to provide competition to the BBC.

Already, two likely bidders are known for Scotland; STV is looking to run a pilot but so too is a consortium including the publishers of The Scotsman, The Herald and the Press and Journal newspapers.

Currently, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is considering responses to a proposal that the pilots be funded from the TV licence fee, which currently goes exclusively to the BBC. By the time Purvis speaks, the outcome of that consultation process may be clearer, as well as what the bidding process will comprise. If not, Purvis – an architect of the proposed IFNCs – can almost certainly guarantee he’ll be asked for an update.

Joining Purvis as a keynote speaker will be Strathclyde University’s Professor Brian McNair and Julie Ferguson, of Perfect Storm Digital. The event is taking place on the tenth of next month.