A 30 minute regional news broadcast and increased coverage of Scottish affairs are the requirements for the new ITV Border licence.
Ofcom has set out the terms of the new 10 year ITV and Channel 5 licenses due to begin in 2015 and local news broadcasts in the Border television area have been one of the most thorny issues across the whole country to resolve.
In a statement this week it states: “Ofcom is requiring 30 minutes of weekday early evening regional news content in the Border region which covers both sides of the England/Scotland border.
“In Scotland, Ofcom is requiring enhanced coverage of Scottish affairs in the area covered by ITV’s Border licence that lies in Scotland to better serve viewers.
“In addition to retaining a full 30 minutes of weekday early evening news relevant to the region, Ofcom require a further weekly 90 minutes of regional programming to be scheduled for viewing in the Scottish part of the Border region. That programming may be shared with the other Channel 3 licensees in Scotland. ITV must provide separate transmissions for the two parts of the Border region.”
Borders MP Michael Moore welcomed the announcement as did Berwickshire MSP John Lamont and both will meet with ITV in the coming weeks.
Mr Moore said: “The more Borders focused programme is welcome news and will address many of the criticisms of recent years. In choosing to separate current affairs coverage north and south of the border Ofcom have set ITV Border a challenge.”
Mr Lamont added: “We must ensure that ITV go ahead with their plans to produce local current affairs programming in addition to the news service.”