Regional newspaper group warns that BBC could scupper its video news plans - Press Gazette

Regional newspaper group warns that BBC could scupper its video news plans

A local newspaper publisher has said regional newspapers’ video plans could be “jeopardised” by the BBC‘s proposed ultra-local news service.

Iliffe News and Media has rolled out a training programme across the company before launching video news on 20 of its websites, but warned that securing a large audience – something threatened by the BBC’s plans – would be crucial to its long-term success.

Iliffe, which owns the Cambridge Evening News and more than 30 newspapers and magazines, has sent 40 of its journalists on a training course run by its sister broadcaster Channel Television, the ITV station for the Channel Islands, teaching them to film, edit and upload clips. Yattendon Investment Trust, owned by the Illife family, is a major shareholder in Channel Television.

Channel Television’s head of content Allan Watts took eight Evening News staff through an intensive course on video editing, teaching them to produce high-quality two-minute films.

After completing training a month ago, staff at the Cambridge Evening News have already uploaded more than 60 clips including the story of a body being found in a layby. The paper claims that unique users of its website have increased 20 per cent month-on-month as a result.

Andy Gough, managing director of Iliffe Digital Media, said: ‘Securing a critical mass of local audience for our on-line offerings will be crucial to the success of the regional press drive to develop a significant digital business.

‘The richer media experience that comes with initiatives such as video will be an important part of establishing this audience base. It is precisely this ambition that a major investment of licence fee payers’ money could jeopardise.”

Iliffe News and Media chief executive David Fordham said: ‘It has been extremely useful to draw on the expertise of our in-house professional broadcast journalists to train our newspaper staff in the art of video journalism. We are in a unique position given our ownership of ITV’s Channel Television.

‘The results have been clear to see with some of the early work being produced by our editorial staff being of an exceptionally high standard.” reported last night that former Cambridge Evening News editor Murray Morse has been appointed editor-in-chief of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport.