Tuesday 13, March 2012
Culture Secretary talks Local TV at media conference
On his first visit to MediaCityUK since its opened last
year, Hunt denounced the “London-centric media” and said the industry was “on
the cusp of a very radical change.”
Addressing the audience for his keynote speech at the BBC Philharmonic
Studio at Salford Quays, Hunt described the media as “the sector of greatest
potential in this country.”
Media analyst and broadcaster Steve Hewlett chaired the
event, and quizzed Hunt on Local TV, which will initially see 20 cities across
the UK granted a local licence to produce their own regional programming.
Hunt said that low-running costs would be key to the success
of the project, and estimated that the regional stations could be run for just
£500,000 a year.
He added that 90 companies had already shown a serious
expression of interest, and that there was no reason why the UK could not
replicate the success of local TV stations in other European countries such as
Italy and France.
Hunt praised the BBC’s move to
Salford, describing the MediaCityUK site as “extraordinarily impressive.” He said
the organisation was “the benchmark of quality”, and is fully behind the Local
Diane Coyle, Vice Chairman of BBC Trust, confirmed “that
money had been ear-marked to buy the products of Local TV, if the outcome is of
Hunt spoke of his enthusiasm for local universities and said
that, with their keen interest in new technologies, the future of local media
production is in the hands of students.
The MP also revealed that by December 2012 the new ‘broadband plan’ for the UK will be in place, which aims to provide the country with the fastest download speeds in Europe.
By Mark Cockroft
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