Kent’s Local Govt. Web TV Forced To Cough Up Costs

Last week, Bob Geldof’s Ten Alps sent us a press release celebrating the first “birthday” of Kent TV, the web video channel Kent County Council commissioned it to build last year. Today, though, the party’s over, with the council forced to cough up the seemingly high costs of the venture.

The local Kent Messenger paper had been using Freedom Of Information requests to urge disclosure of the price, but was given only limited info. Now the Information Commissioner has forced it to open up, saying disclosure is in the public interest…

The skinny: a £695,000-a-year annual running cost for Kent TV could be about £200,000 more than the original forecast, with about £1.2 million budgeted to cover costs plus £200,000 on the setup, PG reports.

That this information should be public is a no-brainer. One possible subtext to the Messenger’s interest in the matter – its own nascent web video efforts. In a way, this issue is a mirror of opposition to BBC Local video plans. Is it logical that a local authority launches a web video news operation? Yes – in these days of local news cutbacks, every local government should want to guarantee a line of communication with voters. The side-effect – that much-loved spectacle of competition between the council and its local newspaper.