Independently Funded News Consortia

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Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) were proposed as independently set-up groups providing local and regional news within various regions of the United Kingdom. The structure was proposed by Ofcom in January 2009 to respond to the reduction in provision of regional news programming by the existing Channel 3 license-holders, including ITV.[1] The consortia were to be formed of existing interested local parties, such as local newspaper groups and agencies.[2]

In November 2009, the Culture Secretary announced pilots for provision of regional news programming via a number of IFNCs in the nations of Scotland and Wales, as well as in the English Channel 3 regions of ITV Tyne Tees & Border.[3] Some consortia had already expressed an interest in operating independent news provision in one of the pilot areas.[4] Before the 2010 general election, the Department of Culture, Media and Sports had selected three consortia for Scotland, Wales and the Tyne Tees/Borders: Scottish News Consortium (consisting of Johnston Press, Herald and Times Group, D C Thomson, and Tinopolis), Wales Live (UTV and NWN Media), and News 3 (Trinity Mirror, Press Association, and Ten Alps) respectively.[5] If the pilots had been successful, it was expected that a national roll-out in 2012-13 might be funded through use of part of the existing television licence fee.[2]

The Conservatives opposed IFNCs, proposing instead to have city-based TV companies.[6] In May 2010, following the establishment of a Conservative-Liberal Democrats governing coalition, plans to establish IFNCs were dropped in favour of the rollout of "super fast broadband" to rural areas. On 8 June 2010 Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed this change of priorities.[7] The move was criticised in Wales by the Heritage Minister and the Institute of Welsh Affairs chair.[8]


  1. ^ "Ofcom unveils public service broadcasting blueprint for the digital decade". Ofcom. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
  2. ^ a b "Digital Britain: Attitudes to supporting non-BBC regional news from the TV licence fee" (PDF). 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
  3. ^ "Regional news pilot for Tyne Tees and Borders". DCMS. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
  4. ^ "Trinity Mirror to Bid for IFNC Pilot". 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
  5. ^ Luft, Oliver (8 June 2010). "Jeremy Hunt deals final blow to IFNC plan". Press Gazette. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  6. ^ McCabe, Maisie (22 January 2010). "Oxford Media Convention: Tories will abandon Independently Funded News Consortia". MediaWeek. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Measures to boost local media". 8 June 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  8. ^ "ITV local news pilot schemes scrapped". BBC Wales. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2011.