Inclusive has announced the setting up of Local Digital News.
The new venture will offer digital, editorial and management services to organisations planning to launch and operate local TV channels.
The aim is to allow potential local TV operators to keep costs down by accessing a central pool of expertise and coverage.
The announcement follows the unveiling of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s new strategy for local TV – which aims to see 10-20 local TV services by 2015, with the first on air in 2013.
Local Digital News is being led by three senior broadcasting and digital executives: Nigel Dacre, the CEO of Inclusive Digital and former Editor of ITV News; Steve Perkins, former Head of Content Policy at Ofcom; and Nicholas Wheeler, former head of ITN’s digital media division.
They are bringing together a group of experts and consultants in essential TV fields, ranging from engineering to script writing.
The new company will offer potential and successful local TV consortia 3 crucial services:
1) Management and training in setting up and operating local TV channels.
2) An online digital news platform – for mobiles, tablets, online, and connected TV. The platform would be developed by Inclusive Digital.
3) The supply of relevant stories that could be given a local angle in local TV areas.
The company may also apply for local TV licences – either on its own or as part of consortia.
Nigel Dacre said: “Our aim is to bring top level knowledge to local TV. But it is not just a consultancy service. It’s an experience bank delivering practical solutions in a practical way.”
Steve Perkins: "There's no doubt the key to success is genuine localness. But we believe there are systems that can be used everywhere to achieve the best quality at the lowest cost."
Nicholas Wheeler said: “No publisher can afford to ignore the power of moving images anymore and with the entry level cost to local TV so low, there is a great chance to see some interesting groupings do something new and different with news.”