Online channel set for closure

AN innovative public sector online video channel is set to go offline due to a range of budget cuts being imposed as a consequence of the current economic recession.

SLTV – set up and run by South Lanarkshire Council – currently provides local news, documentaries and information content through a streaming service, administered by an in-house team of five, including two dedicated camera operators.

According to its own figures, since launching on the Solus platform earlier this year, videos on SLTV have been viewed some 25,000 times – when SLC launched its new website around six years ago, it received under 10,000 visitors per month. It now receives some 80,000 per month.

However, with the council set to approve savings of £21 million later this month, the service faces the axe – along with two jobs.

“Last year, we hired two camera operators/editors on temporary contracts,” said a council spokesperson.

“This has allowed us to do things like highlight music and the arts in schools, our countryside rangers service, videos to boost tourism to our area and various community events. We have also made films for people with learning disabilities who find it more difficult to read text.

“Sadly – because of the bank bail out, we are preparing to make cuts of £21 million next year – and £30million a year for the following three years. A report to our Executive Committee listed proposed cuts to non-core services – including the closure of SLTV which will save £46,660.”

The saving plans affecting SLTV’s future will be held later this month, although final decision on its future may be postponed until the New Year.

The adjacent SLV TV, a Lottery-backed video service targeting the voluntary sector, will not be affected by the move while future content is likely to be pushed through South Lanarkshire’s YouTube channel, produced by the council’s communications team.