The pilot will run for nine months and will provide local TV news on demand over broadband and once per hour on digital satellite. The local news will target specific areas in the larger West Midlands region: Birmingham and the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Stoke and Staffordshire, and Shropshire will all receive specific local TV news programming on the service. It will be available on demand via each area's BBC "Where I Live" website, and will have a specific timeslot in an hourly wheel on the digital satellite service, accessed through a red button prompt.
"It's been our strategic aim for a number of years to make our services as local as possible - all the research suggests that audiences are most interested in news and events from their own areas," said David Holdsworth, head of regional and local programmes and the pilot's project manager. "Until now, technology has made it impossible for us to provide any sort of local TV news service on top of the one dictated by regional transmitters. This pilot gives us the chance to provide news on demand (on broadband) or once an hour (on digital satellite)."
Non-breaking news programming on the service will be updated once every 24 hours. The BBC will "test a variety of ways of commissioning new user-generated content from individuals and organisations in each locality, building on the success of projects like Digital Stories and Video Nation," a press release said today.
If the pilot is successful, similar services will rollout to another 60 areas around the UK.