Ashley Highfield CEO of beleaguered UK local newspaper group Johnston Press is pushing ahead with plans to launch a series of online TV stations for its newspaper titles.
Speaking at a conference held by flagship daily The Scotsman, he said he was considering plans for channels at a number of the company’s newspaper websites. The online TV channels would feature videos shot by journalists at the newspaper titles and he hoped the move would boost traffic on the publisher’s websites.
Johnston Press is currently issuing all its journalists with new technology, including Smartphones which will allow them to shoot videos.
The Scotsman reported that at its conference of the future of the media, the chief executive said: “We are going to launch a bunch of TV channels.” He also confirmed to the paper that this could include a “ScotsmanTV” model.
Highfield told the conference that he believed the company would still be printing newspapers 20 years from now, downplaying fears about the future of the industry. He added that now was “the most exciting and maybe the most scary time to be in the business”.
The publisher is currently in the third phase of a re-launch programme at all its titles, which includes giving around 1,700 journalists a new laptop, mobile phone and Google Mail account, while all editors will receive iPads.
Highfield is a former BBC and Microsoft TV executive.