Page last updated at 14:18 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 15:18 UK

Proposal in to run regional ITV

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

A consortium has announced a bid to "rescue" independent television news in the South West region of England.

The bidders, made up of businessmen, journalists and Northcliffe Media, have said they would undo years of decline.

They said last February's merger of two ITV regional broadcast regions - which created one area from the Scilly Isles to Gloucestershire - would be reversed.

Broadcast watchdog Ofcom said the cost to ITV of regional news licences would outweigh the benefits by 2012.

Under proposals in the government's Digital Britain report, independent suppliers could bid to provide local news programmes on ITV.

Golden days

The consortium is initially bidding for part of the £250m digital switchover surplus.

It plans to create 10 sub-regional newsgathering areas, centred around Northclilffe Media's existing newspaper bases in the region.

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

Dave Mason, a journalist and producer who formed the consortium, said: "In the golden days, people lived and worked nearby.

"The facts are that half the ITV west country output is recorded from Bristol and put out to people in Devon and Cornwall.

"The residents there know the people they see on their screens don't live nearby."

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