Written evidence submitted by Latest TV, Brighton
One thing that the Covid 19 pandemic has shown more than any other is that LOCAL is all important. You get treated in a local hospital, cared for by local neighbours, mutual aid is local and information about your locale comes mainly from local broadcasters.
While the major TV broadcasters cut broadcasts in Brighton and all other newspaper offices closed, Latest TV, the PSB broadcaster for Brighton and Hove, Worthing and all along the coast to Chichester stayed open and increased our local news coverage SAFELY - engaging with Ofcom and our local council to ensure that. Notwithstanding advertising revenues completely collapsed and we were unable to continue with our training programmes, we organised our staff to work safely in line with Government guidelines to carry on serving our communities, of which we are a key part.
We are a TV station so below is a brief summation of that which we achieved during lockdown - working with similar stations across the UK and with great journalists like Baillor Jalloh from Sheffield Live, Simon Woods at NVTV Belfast, Jamie Lowe at Local TV and we think it shows why you should ALWAYS value LOCAL TV which currently has no public funding. With no public funding, we do things no one else does!
1.... We produced the first magazine TV show on Covid 19 in the UK ( and much copied since ) and showed it across UK on local TV on C7. We sent this to Rose Lubega, Head of Broadcasting Strategy, at DCMS, who was more than helpful and very supportive. She sent it on to government and from then we had government Covid ads on our channel which featured shots taken in lockdown by Brighton photographer and friend of Latest TV JJ Waller. This was extremely helpful in both providing revenue and more importantly communicating information to our local communities. Latest TV is very respected and trusted so this would b=e a very effective communication medium for the Government to convey important messages. We hope this can continue post pandemic.
2..... Produced these shows 3 times a week showing ALL of the UK. Did the Birmingham Nightingale Hospital see much coverage elsewhere? And we filmed Captain Tom long before you could say 30 million.
3.....We filmed ordinary people - I say EXTRAordinary people. We were the only TV to film the woman who started Quarantine Songs as people started singing from balconies. We also carried cultural, arts and music performances in both our daily news and in the Covering Covid as you can see below. We have produced three totally performance episodes – Eps 14, 16 and 23 featuring music, poetry and performance – many of these features have been seen by thousands and have helped the artists. We have received support from The Arts Council for us to support local arts and culture which we have done. Again we are very hopeful that this will continue when normal times resume – as all see it as a success. Carl Stevens and Davina Christmas from The Arts Council have been brilliant and helpful supporters.
4..... We were the only embedded TV company in the city in Spain, La Rioja where the epidemic was the most severe in Europe.
5....We have diverse reporters who are truly embedded in our communities and we concentrated on BAME and Covid from the very beginning. As such we captured the impact of this terrible impact on communities – both good and bad – in a way that visiting reporters could not achieve.
6..... We used our main news to allow our council leaders, charities, and COMMUNITY to be the focal point for news.
7...... We upped our social media so we now receive around 50,000 Facebook views a month and 100,000 on YouTube. That is just from Latest TV.
8..... We have streamed lockdown shows SAFELY from Brighton Palace Pier all over the world. The 11 June show has 100,000 viewers and you can see on Facebook page of Brighton Palace Pier
9...... This is all to show you - we hope - the importance of LOCAL. We particularly featured from very early on experts from well outside London, eg scientists in Belfast filmed by NVTV Belfast.
10.... And of course the proof is in the programmes themselves. Immaculately presented by Yael Breuer and directed by Bill Smith, with the participation of many local channels and exec produced by David Montgomery of Local TV Ltd, Steve Buckley Of Sheffield Live and Bill Smith at Latest TV we invite you to watch .
We cannot stress sufficiently the importance of LOCAL and believe it warrants public funding.
For the last four years Latest TV have been streaming their programmes. For the last year we have worked with The Arts Council to stream British arts and cultural events successfully. We have been trying to raise the money for a Streamland.UK platform – as below – just before the pandemic struck.
We had already sent to the DCMS and The Arts Council our plans for Streamland.UK – an innovative platform for UK based Arts and Culture that fairly rewards venues and artists. As we all know the American platforms dominate and take all the revenue – there are many campaigns around this. There is no need to do that if Streamland.UK could be supported.
In a nutshell Streamland.UK could be the vaccination needed by arts organisations – theatres, music venues, dance, comedy etc – all over the UK. We have the support of the Music Venue Trust as well as The Arts Council but this needs a cash injection of less than £100k to get it off the ground. In simple terms it could save British culture. We would welcome the chance to discuss this further or present to the committee.