The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced the following:
Having a choice in news is good for democracy and communities. We believe the public should be able to get their news from a wide variety of media sources.
However, the combination of market and economic forces are having a direct impact on local and regional news. Some independent, regional and local news providers are finding it hard to survive. At the same time, public service broadcasters are finding that the cost of providing regional news is becoming unsustainable.
Chapter 5 of the Digital Britain MyCompany Quarterly Report proposed the creation of independently funded news consortia (IFNCs) to replace the news provision on channel three (e.g. ITV1). These consortia would provide local content through a variety of media.
During 2010 we will trial this system in Scotland, Wales and the Tyne Tees/Borders, where it will replace the existing regional channel three news programming.
We expect these three IFNC pilots will cost around £40 million in total over two years.
A national roll out of IFNCs is intended following the pilot period and the Government is legislating for this in the Digital Economy Bill.