Council info on your Wii – and coming soon, Argyll and Bute TV?

A multimedia project that would see council information on TV screens looks set to be launched within months – and Argyll and Bute may also launch its own TV station.

Options for new media platforms and webcasting will be discussed at  the council’s meeting in Lochgilphead on Thursday.

Councillors are recommended to spend £21,000 on ‘Looking Local’, a service launched seven years ago by Kirklees Council which would make council information more accessible via digital TV smartphones, Facebook, Twitter and even a Nintendo Wii.

The service is already used by Glasgow Housing Association, NHS Scotland and East Ayrshire Council and the report by executive director of customer services Douglas Hendry suggests it is introduced in the current financial year.

“In taking advice from the council’s officers who specialise in this area it is apparent that the council should aspire to offer the type of services being provided by Looking Local, to provide an additional medium for communicating with the council and as business continuity resilience for the website,” he said.

The council is also considering setting up a dedicated local TV station for Argyll and Bute, which would be run as a not-for-profit social enterprise.

Brian Keating of Helensburgh firm URTV has held a video conference and a meeting with Mr Hendry and the council’s chief executive Sally Loudon, and his company would license the new channel to use URTV’s delivery platform.

A ‘suitable video-journalist/manager’ would be recruited, trained and hired with URTV’s help, says the report, while the software allows for streaming of events and meetings. A smart phone app would allow customers to send video direct to the council to report anything from storm damage to potholes.

The costs are summarised as £9,000 for the one-off set-up and £8,000 for an annual technology fee – there is no indication of costs for additional staff.

Following a meeting in July the proposals were refined – Council News TV, School News TV and Argyll TV – but there is no indication of what these offerings might consist of.

Since funding is in place for the Looking Local project councillors are asked to give the go-ahead for work to start immediately on that project, with short life working groups being formed to look at both the URTV options and other webcasting and  video conferencing options.

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