Newspapers to mount bid for TV news pilot

A PLANNED pilot television news programme in Scotland, funded by the government and to operate on channel three from next year – as competition to BBC Scotland – is expected to attract rival bids.

On Friday, while STV’s chief executive, Rob Woodward, was outlining the possible look and feel of his organisation’s long known-about interest in running the pilot, it emerged that there is to be a rival in the shape of an alliance between the publishers of The Herald, The Scotsman and The Press and Journal newspapers.

Woodward was speaking at the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention and, at the same event, Tom Thomson, managing editor at The Herald & Times Group, revealed his organisation, Newsquest, plus The Scotsman’s Johnston Press and The P&J’s DC Thomson are planning to mount a joint bid to run the pilot.

Earlier this year, Scotland was recommended as home to one of three news pilots on channel three, to be funded by the government. Said a report into Britain’s digital future, the funding should come from the TV licence fee, that currently goes exclusively to the BBC.

Thomson is quoted in the Press Gazette, saying: “We have been discussing how we can prepare a credible bid for funding along with a video partner, once it becomes clear what the consortia plan is all about and whether the funding is going to be there, the funding is obviously crucial element of this.”