Sky News plots local news service



Sky News is lobbying Ofcom in a bid to get involved in local news provision, according to reports.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Sky News is developing a Sky News Local service which would offer news bulletins alongside online news content for the nations and regions.

Sky News previously dabbled with local news in 2012-13 with a hyperlocal service for Tyne and Wear before being abruptly shut down.

This time, Sky News is claimed to have approached Ofcom, with a possible outcome being the introduction of a new regulatory framework for local news coverage based on competitive bidding, with Sky going head-to-head with ITV to provide the commercial opposition to the BBC.

Sky says it wants to serve audiences currently "underserved" by the current BBC and ITV regional news service. The broadcaster's lobbying comes ahead of an Ofcom review of Public Service Broadcasting due to start in January.

ITV is currently obligated to show between 20 and 30 minutes (depending on the region) of regional news in the early evening, plus news bulletins in the late evening, at breakfast and at the weekend.

Arguably, there is an "oven-ready" solution: the floundering local TV network, which was supposed to provide that alternative to BBC and ITV regional news, could be developed into a regional structure for Sky News. However, that would involve Sky having to compete with the BBC and ITV, whereas it would like no snatch regional news from ITV, with just a funding-constrained BBC to compete with.