End of BBC Local TV…is it problem solved for local newspapers?
The Newspaper Society hailed the cancelling of BBC Local TV plans as a great victory yesterday for local newpapers who’d foreseen their ruin if the Beeb popped up in their area.
The RadioCentre, representing local commercial radio stations, called it a “sensible decision.”
Ofcom had reckoned local newspapers and radio stations could have seen their revenue fall by 4% if BBC Local had happened.
So is it problem solved? No way.
According to an article in today’s Guardian:
While newspapers have seen off the threat of the BBC’s £68m local video websites, their problems remain immense. Against a backdrop of falling advertising revenues and economic downturn, dozens of local papers have closed this year and many more are vulnerable. The BBC’s plans were a concern – the Newspaper Society said the 65 proposed sites would have competed with about 100 websites of some of the UK’s best-known papers. However, Richard Hitchcock, an analyst at Numis, said publishers were not as worried about the BBC plan as they were about the “bigger picture” of a “sustained cyclical consumer downturn on top of the major structural problems of the online migration of audiences and advertising”. Enders Analysis estimates that UK newspaper ad revenues could fall by up to 21% next year and remain in decline for the “foreseeable future”.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere:
Dave Lee issues a challenge for the papers to up their game and match the quality of the BBC threat. Quite rightly he says the papers were just scared – really – that the BBC might be better than them.
David Dunkley Gyimah agrees – and says they must do it soon – because the next threat might not be so easy to fend off. Or, even, from the BBC.