Jon Sopel and Patrick Burns are here with the top political stories of the week.
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In the Midlands, you are now watching regional television, but
would you watch local TV? We will see how it is already working in
Birmingham, Alabama, as ministers prepare their plans for local
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2372 seconds
All politics is local. Well, so said the late Tip O'Neill, but all
television is definitely not local. This programme is about as closer
and personal as regional television gets, and we cover a giant region
from the Cotswolds are to the Staffordshire moorlands with a
population of 6 million. So, how can it be right, asks the Culture
Secretary that the city the size of Birmingham has no truly local TV
stations, while Birmingham Alabama has for? It is not just about the
big cities. We are joined by the chief executive of six TV, the UK's
largest TV licence holder. They have designs on serving South
Warwickshire. Fare is two key points of. It is partly access to
local news and information, and holding local politicians to
account. The other. Makes creating an advertising opportunity for
local businesses who come at the moment don't have access to a
freaky and terrestrial television. We are joined by Gavin Williamson,
the Conservative MP, and by David Wright, the Labour MP. Our
correspondent has been to that Visiting America, you notice they
do have a lot more local TV than we do, like this channel in Birmingham
Alabama. So, we're spending the day here and we're not the only new
boys' comic it is Scott Packard's new day, too. The day starts at the
meeting. Looking at this potential running order, this could be an
edition of our programme. Were we have Bacher's with TB affecting
farmers, they have armadillos with rabies. What about the differences?
There are four stations providing local news in this part of America,
all funded by advertising. So he wants advertise on local TV here?
If you drive through town, you will see 17 fast food restaurants and
they're all interested in advertising. So, everyone. We take
it. This is one argument for local TV in the UK, but there is an
untapped, under served pool of potential advertisers. One Midlands
ad agency has crunched the numbers and doubts that. Because I can see
that there would be any real demand from punt - - from the consumer, I
can see he would be watching it. If the TV station has a got an
audience, then they haven't got anything to sell. Others, who have
already expressed an interest in local TV, disagree. I am the
chairman of the theatre company that owns 40 theatres. We can't
afford to advertise on regional television. We would love to
advertise on local television. I think there is a market there.
Someone has to go out and find it and sell it. There is no doubt that
the local market leader can make news day, but can they produce news
more cheaply than we do? But, everyone keeps a tight rein on
costs and for the new boy in the studio, this is luxury to where he
started. This was my first taste of the daily meeting. The television
station I came from was very small. It was just a few reporters he had
to do everything. I have hired three people in the last four years
you're as old as my children, so why am hiring someone who is 25
were 26 years old. They had been in an even smaller market for a couple
of years and hopefully got on the floor polish, they may bring them
here. So, if you reduce costs and find a new source of advertising
revenue, could this work in the UK? We are not trying to bring the
whole American system of work, the government wants to graft a little
bit of it on to our existing set-up. Will that work?
We will not have to wait long to find out. They are due to start
going on air in the year. Incidentally, there is more on the
political background to all of this on my block - - blog. A lot of
people tell me that there is a reshuffle in the air and that she
are highly regarded, and an effective minister, and that you're
facing the possible promotion to a bigger department. If that happens,
what would you like your legacy to be remembered for? I would like us
to have a thriving local TV sector, so that your constituents hold
their local politician to account in a way that power national media
is so successful in all the non- national politicians to account.
Gavin Williamson, which should be up for this? Very much so. I think
there will be a fantastic platform for local politics. Would you want
to be held to account in this way? I think it would be great. I don't
think there is a lot of political disagreement on this. I think it
would be a real opportunity for people to engage with a member of
parliament. A clear lesson from that piece from Alabama is that the
mystics - - most successful local television stations in America are
backed by the big networks, whereas here the government wants to go for
something that is much more bottom- up. I think it will lead to real
proper local television. I do think there will be a high degree of co-
ordination between local channels and back felling. People will not
want local news 24 hours a day. They will want good quality
television, so there will be an off lot of co-ordination. Do you think
it would need the big commercial broadcasters to get involved, or
cannot all be left to local, small people. I think there will be a
mixed approach over the coming years. I think there is an
opportunity for other media to enter the market. If you live cats
the local paper in the local area, it already has as a major part of
its website video clip news. But do you think, bottom up or top-down?
In America they do have both and stations are not forced to
affiliate with the network, they do so voluntarily. I think this
bottom-up approach, I believe that is the right approach. All the
indications are that will be down to us to decide to be one to work
with other parties, and I believe we will. Let me to win what
somebody said on this, if the ITV regions could not survive without
merging together a most commercial radio stations are very similar,
how do they expect local television to survive? 10 or 15 years ago I
would have said that, but I believe everything has changed. Looking at
how television can be made with graduates to know how to use light
week - - lightweight cameras and laptops, I think it is possible.
One of the things that Greg Dyke said was that local television,
rather than in big cities like Birmingham, is the way to go, but
the Government is talking about television in the 20 or so bigger
cities. I think it has got to start off there. I think it has got to
show that the format can survive. Talking to many businesses, there
is a real appetite to target their advertising spend and directed to
the consumers that are trying to get through the door. We all know
that the regional press, well, some people say it is in terminal
decline with revenues drying up. think we can create those
partnerships at regional print media and I think that is a
potential way forward. One of the biggest media organisations this
week has come under tremendous pressure and I think there will be
a kickback against that. I think it will be looking for more local news
and diversity. Since he raised the question, trust in journalism is
one of the issues. How can local television, how can we be sure that
the standards will be maintained? When you talk about local
television, it is not necessarily a low-quality TV. You have got a lot
of regional media groups, a lot of local papers, excellent journalism
already thriving. They can be tapped into. Do you think you can
reassure people about standards? One of the things I think is
interesting, the BBC did some experiments and local TV a few
years ago and they managed to put BBC brand values on the sort of
model we are talking about with a handful of video journalists. If
the BBC can do it, anyone can do it. You can follow us at any time on
The government clearly hoped that local TV will be a resounding
success, but what do you want? big talking point today, can local
television services succeed where many have failed? When a wave of
local television stations come along in the 1990s, these
journalism students were toddlers, now they are the next generation of
television talent. You might remember stations like Coventry
Cable, all short lived, often because of shoestring budgets.
Local TV television in Britain has failed repeatedly, so why should it
work now that people have a choice of 500 television channels?
Birmingham is a very dynamic city and deserves a dynamic TV station.
City TV broadcasting says it wants a terrestrial licence. This could
be their penthouse studio. They will take on 50 people. They would
choose civic journalists. City TV will have the very best people.
This is not amateur night. Birmingham needs it. What impact
can you Service have on the market place? I would be worried if I was
a local newspaper, but we can work with them. ITV and BBC, they
deliver local news, and not in the style but we will. So, what would
you like to see on your local TV service? We came to Stoke on Trent
so people here could put us in the picture. I'd go out a lot and it
would be a lot easier than having to look upon social networks when
there would be gigs. I would like to see more children's football.
Articles regarding the area itself. The government will give more
detail this month, but we know that the BBC will contribute �40 million
towards its development. The voice of the Listener is very concerned
about licence fee payer's money going to this project. This project
is far from guaranteed to succeed. Whilst there could be very valuable,
we don't think it is economic viable.
In 2005 the BBC piloted a local television service and I was a
video journalist there looking for unusual stories in Coventry. But
the service was not taken on. The BBC Trust said it could not invest
- - justify the investment. So, a political weather forecast. There
are local TV services working their way up getting licences by 2012.
They may come to rely on product placement and strong advertising.
They will also have fewer staff. That is because the next generation
of journalists are told the job of three people. We can edit, film, do
interviews. Having more channels has always a good thing in terms of
media students because it is very difficult at the moment to get into
the big companies. It is the appetite of viewers that will be
critical and will decide whether advertisers will follow and if
local television will ultimately succeed.
Since he completed their report, the BBC have issued a statement
confirming their support for Iraq - The BBC have said that they will
support this. Some people have is the very against BBC money going to
support this project. I do to some extent agreed. We don't know how
the money will be spent. We, as a company, have never asked for
public subsidy. We don't think we need support. If the money has been
used to support community training and enable licensee - - licence-fee
payers to make local programmes, I would support that. Are you
comfortable at this? We want local TV to be about local interest and
reader wanted a car than copy of the other channels already on TV.
If that money can go towards securing good local content, it
would be money well spent. support what Gavin is saying. We
want to see diversity. So, a local station in Shropshire made you can
feel very different to a station elsewhere. People watch TV
different Lea now. People don't sit down necessarily and watch a whole
range of programmes. They perhaps draw them up on video devices and
watch them in a different way. People watch to be differently.
last time we had some local cable channels like Coventry Cable, when
people had five TV channels to choose from, it didn't work. Now
with the choice of 500 for many people, how can it work? This will
not be 24 hour rolling local news. It will be hide local interest
content, but with high quality programmes backing that up.
thought the BBC pilot a few years ago was really good. You could tune
in at the set time in an hour and watch a segment in local news that
is very relevant to your area. would you tailor it to the local
demands of the viewing public? think it failed in the past because
it was not on the number one TV platform, technically it was very
bad. We do think that local news as a very high demand and that there
would be blocks of local news in the morning and evening wear we
will have local news and information. We have got plans for
local politics discussions, arts programmes, and we are working with
other local programmes in other regions so we can work with them.
If you don't have big ambitions she never achieve anything. I think
this could be a really positive contribution to local democracy. It
does give the public an opportunity to pierced - - put us on the spot.
You have a lot to do if you went to have the sudden running in the year.
The government appointed have a slightly longer than that, but, I
agree, there are companies like us and others who are now raring to go.
Well, to be continued. We will watch with a great deal of interest.