It’s not the BBC the newspapers need to worry about, it’s ITV Local
At the time of the BBC Local TV trial last year, newspapers were worried that a more locally focused television service would be a reason not to read local newspapers.
Whether you think that’s true or not (and I don’t) the trial has had a good effect in mobilising newspapers into producing video, some with better results than others. However consent for the service is travelling down the BBC Trust’s approval process which looks like it could take the rest of the year.
The BBC also has less money to spend overall which either puts the Local TV launch in jeopardy or means the suggestions Mark Thompson made about paying local newspapers for their stories now look doubtful.
I’m worried that newspaper groups will take the foot off the development accelerator at just the point at which they’ve been given some breathing space to beat the beeb at their own game.
There’s another reason to surge forward because ITV Local is an altogether different disruptor. This one is a direct threat. The BBC just wants to stay relevant with local audiences, ITV not only wants the local audience, (and it’s wooing the younger crowds) it wants a share of local newspaper advertising.
With that purchase, they get access to Scoot’s classifieds listings (which they’re currently promoting as a free way to sell your stuff). This is a lot more sensible than the previous plan to encourage viewers to send in video classifieds.
There’s the standard property, motoring, jobs, dating options too.
For interest – here’s ITV Local’s ratecard. How does it compare to your newspaper’s? And what might be the effect on your newspaper when ITV starts promoting the new service in earnest peak time on regional TV?
There’s a period of tough and bold decision making ahead.
Video is part of the modern infomation provider’s toolkit, but doing it well takes time and is more expensive than text-based reporting. But think to the future when local video won’t be something you watch on a website. It will be on your television and any mobile device you happen to have to hand.
This means some serious investment and groups like the Guardian realise it.
Establish partnerships. If you can’t make authoritative TV, link with someone who can. If you don’t have the necessary technical support, buy it. If you don’t have the answers there are consultants around like me who can take months off your planning and implementation processes.
The boldest move of all is the simplest : Who’s going to be the first newspaper to partner with ITV Local?