Regional publishers renew criticism of BBC local web plans

Regional newspapers have criticised the version of BBC plans to roll out 60 regional news websites.

Last week, the BBC revealed plans to spend £68 million over five years, in a local video news scheme that could create 300 jobs and put 150 new BBC cameras in the field. The plans are set to be given to the BBC Trust this week ahead of the first public consultations next month.

David Holdsworth, deputy controller of BBC English regions, told Press Gazette last week that the proposed local sites would link extensively to local press news stories, and that the corporation would establish a fund to buy video content from regional press publishers.

But speaking to, both Ian Davies of Archant and the Newspaper Society’s Santha Rasaiah, criticised the plans, reiterating the regional press’ concerns that the BBC;s licence-fee funded plan would undermine their efforts to create local video news on a commercial basis.

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