ITV (LSE: ITV) said in March it would shutter its ITVLocal.com regional web strategy – but that doesn’t mean it’s giving up on an online presence for regional news. Sure, the hotch-potch of local material that had grown up at ITVLocal.com has now been deleted; but in its place the site says it is due to “relaunch“…
Each of ITV’s 11 regions is due to get a new site, the pages say: “We are in the process of building a new website for our (regional) news service. It will develop over the coming weeks starting with a weather forecast and a daily blog from the … weather team and growing into what we hope will be the definitive site for news and information.”
The local strategy is being scaled back from ITVLocal.com’s grand vision and will focus on news output, with each region administering its own page. ITVLocal.com staff are among those involved in a company-wide redundancy consultation, due to complete on June 5, but it seems likely that some functions will be retained for a new, slimmed down kind of output.
Rapidly losing money, ITV has been cutting regional news staff to keep the ship afloat (pity the poor presenter who had to read for the promo video: “These are exciting times – our news teams are now more flexible”). Ofcom advocates relieving it of the obligation by 2012, replaced by a patchwork of local consortia. That could make this latest online strategy redundant, too – but that’s a long way off yet – for now, ITV just needs to retain an online presence for local news in a cost-effective way.