IFNCs: Trinity Mirror Amongst Five Expected Wales Bidders

Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) has declared its intention to bid for public money that will support an independently-funded news consortium (IFNC) in Wales.

“We’ve been in talks with a variety different organisations about our potential role in such an IFNC,” Alan Edmunds, the publishing director of Trinity’s integrated Media Wales division, told Ofcom’s Have We Got News For You? conference in Cardiff on Friday.

“I can confirm that we will be involved in a bid for the Wales pilot. We’ll be able to bring to it a lot of what we’ve been learning online, our newsgathering strength across Wales – both at the national level and the hyperlocal level.

“Online is certainly as crucial to this as TV – the opportunity is to get all the different media platforms working together.”

So far, Ofcom has received three bids for the pilot – from Tinopolis, ITN and Wales Live (a proposed UTV/North Wales Newspapers JV) – the regulator’s content and standards partner Stewart Purvis told delegates: “One wouldn’t rule out possibly one and maybe two others coming forward before the deadline.”

The UK government is committing up to £20 million from money unspent from the BBC-administered digital TV switchover help scheme to fund pilot consortia in Wales, Scotland and an English region comprising Cumbria, Borders and north-east.

Trinity publishes The Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Wales On Sunday, Celtic weeklies and Wales Online but – facing the same turmoil its parent and its counterparts have been enduring of late – Media Wales has been cutting jobs and recently axed its Neath Guardian title recently.

Trinity Mirror confirmed a joint bid for the north-east region with Press Association and Ten Alps for the English region last month and we believe Ten Alps is also interested in the Welsh region. (Update: Edmunds later declined to tell paidContent:UK with which possible partners he is speaking).

Update: UTV MD Michael Wilson said he and North Wales Newspapers had set up a website at waleslive.tv: “We are looking for our audience to tell us what we should be proposing; it’s important we get community feedback from this service … While the digital element of this cannot be ignored (Twitter and Facebook is important – the successful pilots have got to deliver volume, share and credibility in to the Channel 3 slots; I don’t think the importance of that should be neglected.”