Hyperlocal TV, coming to a town near you!
Dan Sabbagh in the Times describes Roger Parry’s plan presented to the Conservative party on ideas for hyperlocal TV based on the Canadian model. This is a low cost, pro-am solution, mixing UGC and professional staff producing cable TV for towns of 6000 or more. Putting the usual ‘quality’ issues to one side, I can see a real future in this model in the UK. Particularly, a) if it involved good quality syndication, b) partnenrhsips with the regional press and perhaps c) a technology platform provided by the BBC. I’ve no doubt that it would be geographically very patchy (what isn’t) and would be more successful in some areas than others, but if we get ubiquitous broadband and a real Digital Britain I can’t really see what can stop it.
At the very least it challenges the conventional view in Britain that local television is defacto regional television. If there was ever a case for re-examining the meaning of a concept it is ‘regional television’. This analogue driven idea is one of the main barriers to new thinking in television news in the UK. TV folk have got to get past ‘regions’ as anything more than vague administrative units that have barely any meaning in peoples lives. Some like Cornwall or the Lake District may have strong historical or cultural roots and dynamics, but something like the North East England is just a vague bit of geographical shorthand that really doesn’t stand scrutiny, particularly in a digital world.
Here is a second article form The Times about it; Tories plan 80 city-based TV stations for local news
Or Download the paper from the Conservative party website