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Kent County Council has become the UK’s first local authority to launch its own broadband TV channel. Made by Bob Geldfof’s Ten Alps production company and available 24/7, Kent TV includes a mix of short programming on business, the arts, education and more local topics, with videos contributed by local production companies as well as the obligatory user-generated option.
It’s an odd, but innovative thing – TV supplied by the same people who empty your bins – but a development that has been on the radar for a few years now, as councils get seduced by digital media agencies’ pitches that they can deliver local information and connect citizens to local politics online. The comparisons (and contrasts) here with ITV Local, the locally-focused online service started by the commercial broadcaster, are obvious – each includes an inoffensive sort of local programming. But while ITV (LSE: ITV) plans to cut £45 million from the news budgets of what had once been its thriving local franchise system (see Press Gazette), truly home-grown initiatives like Kent TV – run cooperatively and likely involving media students at some point – could provide the real dedication to local content-making. Revenues from local advertising go back in to council services and the site also includes a text news feed from the Kent On Sunday newspaper’s KentNews.co.uk website.