Greg Dyke speaks out over funding of Scottish digital TV channel

A conference, featuring Greg Dyke, is debating how the £75m to fund a new digital Scottish TV channel might be raised.

Organised by the Scottish Digital Network Panel speakers include Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop and former BBC Director General Greg Dyke.

The concept of a new digital channel for Scotland was first mooted two years ago following a report by the Scottish Broadcasting Commission.

It was argued that Scotland is currently under-provided in terms of its TV news services and as a result many key issues do not get the coverage they merit.

However, with start up cost estimated at around £75m it is not clear if they new channel will ever hit the screens. And speaking earlier in the day Dyke seemed to rule out a model that would combine public sector funding and commercial advertising on the grounds that this might now be against European law. So what about funding from the BBC license pot? “It was said that is not what the BBC license fee is for,” said Greg, “although that has now changed for it is now being used to fund S4C. But that has been done as part of a three year agreement.”

Greg also seemed to express doubts advertising would be able to fund the new service, “We're only a couple of years away from internet television on a big scale which will fragment the TV advertising market again,” he said.

So that leaves direct Government funding as the only real alternative, “It is part of the process of devolution to decide whether a Scottish channel offers value,” said Dyke, “There is a level of risk but it is the politicians job to decide whether it is a risk worth taking.”

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