Page last updated at 01:08 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Media companies bid to produce local ITV news bulletins

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ITV made a pre-tax loss of 105m in the first half of 2009

TV, newspaper and radio companies are to team up for the right to produce regional news bulletins on ITV, which cannot afford to make them itself.

The government has invited bids for three pilot news services in Scotland, Wales and the north-east of England.

The process of sifting applications will begin this week.

ITV is struggling to cope with increased competition from digital channels, as well as a big decrease in advertising during the recession.

Figures from the first half of 2009 show the broadcaster made a pre-tax loss of £105m.

Rival bids

To help the company survive, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport invited bids from independently-funded news consortia to produce regional news in three ITV1 areas.

On Monday several Scottish newspaper publishers - including DC Thomson, the Herald & Times group and the owners of the Scotsman, Johnston Press - are due to announce they are teaming up with Mentorn, which produces BBC1's Question Time, to bid for the Scottish pilot.

The consortium faces rival bids involving STV, which holds the Scottish ITV licence, ITN, Bauer Radio and Trinity Mirror, which publishes the Daily Record.

Others applying for one of the three pilots include the Press Association, UTV, Newsquest and Northcliffe.

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw has announced he wants three independently funded news consortiums operating in the UK from 2010.

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