Ofcom unveils Scots PSB report

By Hamish Mackay

Ofcom has paved the way for a Scottish version of ITN’s flagship
late evening news bulletin and split-transmission local news programmes
on both Scottish TV and Grampian TV.

These proposals, which were suggested by the two Scottish Media
Groupowned TV stations, are embraced by Ofcom in its final report on
Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) – which is now open to consultation
until 19 April.

The report proposes that Border TV’s Scottish
service be allowed to show two hours of Scottish/Grampian shared
programming without having to pay a fee.

Bobby Hain, managing
director of Scottish TV and Derrick Thomson, managing director
ofGrampian TV, have sounded a cautionary note on Ofcom’s overall
package of proposals for Scotland-especially on funding provision In a
joint statement they said: “While there are positive elements in
Ofcom’s proposals, their thinking appears to be based on the premise
that Scottish TV and Grampian are somehow not subject to the same
commercial pressures as the rest of the ITV network. At the same time
as Ofcom has recognised that the existing PSB commitments of ITV are
unsustainable in a digital world, it has failed to address how the
proposals for Scotland would be funded.

“That said, it’s pleasing
to see that they have listened to our ideas on enhancing the news
service for viewers in Scotland, for Gaelic programmes and for viewers
in the Borders.”

In its report Ofcom stresses that news could be
developed to ensure it remains relevant to the viewers it serves:
“Viewers felt that some stories on the UK agenda were irrelevant – not
reflecting the differing political policies and developments of the
devolved nations”.

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