STV plan to merge Scottish news bulletins

STV will unveil plans today to do away with ITV1’s 6.30pm national news bulletin and create an hour-long integrated news programme for Scotland.

Staff fear that the new plan could lead to it merging its northern and central news operations and possible job losses.

Sources told Press Gazette that they fear the headquarters of the northern operation, in Aberdeen, could be downgraded or closed and the operation centralised at the current headquarters in Glasgow.

The Scottish broadcaster wants to create a six o’clock news programme for Scotland incorporating international, UK-wide, Scottish and local news.

Currently STV holds two ITV1 licences for central and north Scotland and broadcasts regional news bulletins at 6pm before the national evening news is shown at 6.30pm.

STV chief executive Rob Woodward is expected to outline plans to create a new hour-long programme, which would be produced in partnership with ITN and run from 6pm to 7pm, today in a speech to the RTS convention n Cambridge.

STV currently provides four local bulletins for: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. The broadcaster said these bulletins would be extended and two further bulletins added for Inverness and Highlands and for the Borders, pending the agreement of ITV.

The move to an hour-long programme would be a further diversion away from ITV as the broadcaster looks to secure funding for a news consortia pilot project under government plans to revolutionise public service news broadcasting on channel three.

Woodward said: “The media landscape has changed dramatically and it is vital that we innovate, enhance and expand our vision.

“Our proposal offers viewers something that is new and exciting and, through technological innovation, relevant for a 21st century devolved Scotland.

“Our proposal would ultimately increase consumer choice and would provide a strong alternative to the BBC, increasing the plurality of news provision across Scotland.”

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