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23/01/2009

BBC/ITV News Partnership Only 'Short Term Fix'

The final Public Service Broadcasting report just published, by the regulator, Ofcom, has said that a partnership on news provision between the BBC and ITV would only safeguard local news in the short term.

It has instead recommended the creation of a series of independently-funded news consortia in the devolved nations and English regions instead.

The regulator suggests independent panels would be created in each nation to appoint the news providers.
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Ofcom estimates the total funding required for the changes could be between £30 and £50 million and it suggested that the cash could come from shared BBC resources combined with existing regulatory assets such as broadcasting spectrum.

Meanwhile, on Channel 4, Ofcom said it is to become part of a new public broadcasting alternative to the BBC - but has refused to say whether BBC Worldwide, Five or another body should be its main partner.

The regulator rejected the notion of privatising C4, arguing that the broadcaster should be central to a new public purposes-driven organisation.

The body would have a remit to deliver news, current affairs, programmes for older children, programmes made outside London and a range of digital content.

Ofcom said the new entity would be "a broader enterprise with a more diversified approach to rights exploitation across digital media than Channel 4 has currently."

(BMcC/JM)

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