Northcliffe Joins BBC Local Video Opposition

Here we go again. DMGT’s Northcliffe regional news publisher has finally joined Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, GMG Regional Media, The Newspaper Society and even Radio Centre in opposing the £23 million-a-year BBC Local video proposals. It’s lodged a 79-page submission to the BBC Trust, says – as expected, arguing local newspapers are already creating a nascent yet fragile market in local news video. North-east region director John Meehan: “We have our own video journalists but they have to do other jobs as well. We can’t afford to employ dedicated video journalists. (The BBC) will significantly harm the revenues and profitability of regional press.”

Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) 4.7 percent regional revenue and 21.7 percent profit in the last year and the local news market is getting bitten by classified ad spend drying up. The BBC wants to add up to 10, 90-second daily bulletins to each of its 65 former Where I Live sites, a plan that would triple existing local online video and cost £350,000 annually per-site, or £68 million between 2009/10 and 2012/13. With seven months left of the trust’s eight-month review of the proposal, it’s likely still more opponents will come forward and – with both public-value and market-impact tests involved – such a negative wave of industry input could prompt the trust to order the project scaled back.