BBC threatens to scrap ITV regional news sharing offer

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The BBC has threatened to abandon its offer to share news footage and facilities with ITV if it is forced to give up part of the licence fee, director general Mark Thompson has revealed.

According to the BBC staff magazine Ariel, Thompson has said the partnership proposal would be taken “off the table” if the Digital Britain proposal to take £130m a year away from the licence fee to fund regional news goes ahead.

It adds: “However, if non-licence fee funding is found to help either ITV or new IFNCs [independently financed news consortia], the BBC would extend a helping hand.”

The BBC refused to say whether the report was true. A spokesman told Broadcast: “Ariel is an in-house magazine and it was a report in an internal meeting. We never comment on internal meetings.”

The BBC and ITV signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding in March with a view to saving £7m a year by sharing newsroom and studio facilities and some non-exclusive footage on a pool basis.

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