The BBC and local Channel 3 network STV have agreed to enter into a partnership agreement.

“These discussions point the way to the future role of the BBC in the wider public service broadcasting sector, both in Scotland and across the UK. While both broadcasters will maintain their distinctive approaches to the delivery of news and other programme content, it makes sense for both to explore potential synergies and to consider what, sensibly, could be achieved by working more closely together,” – BBC Director-General Mark Thompson

The deal will see both broadcasters consider ways of sharing pictures, facilities, training, technology and archive programmes, with both broadcasters keen to consider how they could work better together and so provide better services for audiences in Scotland.

The ‘BBC – STV unit’ will see both organisations explore collaboration in six areas: news pictures; facilities and resources; training; content and production; archive programmes and online. On news, both broadcasters will consider sharing some raw picture footage and ‘live’ outside broadcast news resources.

The two sides have stressed that a final agreement in this area would have to ensure that the editorial integrity of both broadcasters would be preserved in any picture sharing arrangement. Exclusive stories and features will not be shared, and plurality or distinctiveness of news provision will not be compromised by any such agreement. Both will also look at their respective property and resources portfolios across Scotland and will seek opportunities to develop collaborative arrangements in these areas.

Some BBC training materials, such as those developed by the BBC’s College of Journalism, will shortly be made publicly available. Under the terms of the deal between BBC and STV, these and other materials may be shared by both, as may places on in-house training courses. Both also hope to work together better to support students in the further and higher education sectors, through, for example, work placements and work shadowing.

Joint funding for content development is already a feature of how BBC Scotland and STV collaborate and it is likely that this approach to sharing costs in support of Scotland’s creative economy will continue to develop. Co-productions and potential joint rights bids will also be factored into discussions between the two.

The BBC is in the process of developing an innovative strategy that will ensure significant amounts of its programme archive will be made available, online, for audiences to enjoy. Under the terms of the agreement between BBC and STV, both will explore options for releasing Scotland-related archive materials with a view to enabling access, by both, to a range of the materials which each holds.

Any final agreements between BBC and STV would be subject to the development of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and all the necessary approvals before possible implementation. STV launched on the regional ITV network as Scottish Television in 1957, the company today also own Grampian Television, which launched in 1961. Both services air currently as STV, with separate news services for the STV North Scotland and STV South Scotland regions. BBC Television in Scotland also began in 1957.

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