Duo sign pact on local news shows

LONDON — Rival U.K. broadcasters the BBC and ITV have signed a pact that would for the first time allow cash-strapped ITV to use BBC resources to produce its own local news shows.

ITV, under renewed pressure from an advertising slump, is threatening to ditch local news programs unless a more cost-effective way can be found to supply the programs. Now the BBC has thrown ITV a lifeline that could save it $11 million a year.

Under the tie-up, ITV will use BBC infrastructure, including studios and IT, plus some video material for news stories. ITV, which has been lobbying regulators to cut its local news commitments, will continue to do its own reporting, however.

BBC director general Mark Thompson pointed out that it was already commonplace for broadcasters to pool resources internationally.

For more than 50 years, ITV has provided strong competition to the BBC’s local broadcasts, but in its present hard-up state, the web claims this is no longer an option.

However, the move will almost certainly lead to further job losses at ITV.

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