Scottish news pilot bid being submitted today by ‘Scottish News Network’ consortium

A CONSORTIUM of news providers – including STV – is today submitting its bid to receive government funding to run a TV news pilot on channel three in Scotland.

The Scottish News Network is up against a consortium comprising three of Scotland’s main newspaper publishers in hoping to win the right to run the publicly-funded pilot – widely described as an ‘Independently Funded News Consortia’ – which is scheduled to launch later this year, notwithstanding Tory opposition to it.

The SNN comprises STV plus Bauer Media – which owns various Scottish radio stations, such as Clyde and Northsound – and ITN.

Its rival consists the publishers of The Herald, The Scotsman and the Sunday Post newspapers, plus TV production company, Tinopolis.

Were it to survive the outcome of the General Election, the pilot – and similar initiatives are being set up for Wales and Tyne Tees/Border – would replace STV’s current news output. The pilots are being created as a response to it becoming increasingly unviable – from an advertising revenue point of view – for the likes of STV to run a TV news service, as part of its licence operator obligations.

Says a statement issued by the SNN: “[The] submission details how the consortium will use its extensive newsgathering and production resources to provide national, Scotland-wide and local content, across multi-platforms including TV, radio, online and mobile.”

SNN, along with the other bidders, will meet with an independent adjudicating panel, set up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a week on Wednesday. The identity of the successful bidder in Scotland – plus the respective winners in the other two pilot areas – is expected on or before the 25th of this month.

Said STV chief executive, Rob Woodward: “As part of our strategic partnership with Bauer Media and ITN, we have today submitted what we believe to be a very strong bid which would ensure the high quality and innovative delivery of news services across Scotland. We welcome the opportunity to discuss our proposal further with the selection panel and look forward to a speedy implementation of this new service.”