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Midland News Association agrees online video news deal with ITN

Publisher of the Shropshire Star and Wolverhampton’s Express and Star is first regional newspaper group to sign with ITN

Midland News Association, publisher of titles including the Shropshire Star and Wolverhampton’s Express and Star, is to launch an online video news, sport and entertainment service in a deal with ITN.

MNA is the first regional newspaper publisher to sign up with ITN, which has deals with national titles the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph ITN will provide about 200 clips each week to the expressandstar.com and shropshirestar.com websites.

Content will include UK, international, sports, show business and money news. The news content will be produced by ITN’s multimedia division, ITN On, with advertising on the service to be sold by video search company blinkx. Revenue will be shared between MNA, ITN On and blinkx.

“[The deal] shows in practice how a national TV news provider can work with regional and local news suppliers allowing them to enhance their online output,” said John Hardie, chief executive of ITN. “I look forward to further partnerships with media outlets in regions throughout the UK.”

The deal comes at a time when the beleaguered regional news industry is seeking to develop new multimedia revenue streams beyond a reliance on traditional print advertising income.

Newspaper publishers are aiming to help fill a potential vacuum in regional news provision as ITV looks to pull its TV services and the government considers options including potentially using some of the BBC’s licence fee to run a series of independent news consortia.

The industry had a notable victory in what it perceived as protecting entry into the nascent online video market when the BBC Trust scotched plans by the BBC to launch a £68m UK network of 65 local video-based websites last November.

In July, the BBC struck a controversial deal with four national newspaper groups — Daily Mail & General Trust; Guardian News & Media, which publishes MediaGuardian.co.uk; Telegraph Media Group; and Independent News & Media — to share video news on their websites for the first time.