The runners and riders are now lining up to bid for the new Independent Funded News Consortia pilot schemes in Wales, the Tyne Tees and Borders area of England and Scotland.
The pilot schemes will take over ITV local broadcast news services in these areas and possibly pave the way for a nationwide roll-out of IFNCs. But the Conservatives have indicated that they are opposed to the strategy.
The Government has said that the IFNCs will be paid for using up to £130m a year of the BBC licence fee which is currently used to fund digital switch over.
The latest consortium bidder to come forward is called Taliesin News (named after a sixth century poet apparently) – which is bidding for the Wales IFNC contract. It comprises: existing ITV Wales staff, ITN, Northcliffe, Newsquest, Tindle Newspapers, TV producer Boomerang and Cardiff University’s Scool of Journalism.
Former ITV News CEO Clive Jones is leading the team. The three newspaper publishers between them have 25 titles in the region.
UTV and North Wales Newspapers have between them formed a consortium to bid for the Wales franchise as have Welsh independent producer Tinopolis.
UTV yesterday signalled that it will bid for the English regional pilot alone going up against ITN and a coalition involving Trinity Mirror, Press Association and Ten Alps.