STV has lost out on the contract to provide Scottish news on its own television channel.
Scottish News Consortium, a group involving the parent company of the Press and Journal, was named yesterday as preferred bidder for the UK Government’s news contract.
About 120 STV staff in Scotland are expected to change their employer to SNC in the next few weeks and the new service could be up and running by the summer.
STV unsuccessfully linked up with radio stations owner Bauer Media to bid for the work as Scottish News Network.
STV was saying little after yesterday’s announcement.
A spokeswoman said: “STV will now look to engage with SNC to discuss the continued provision of a high-quality news service to STV’s viewers.”
SNC comprises Press and Journal owner DC Thomson, the Herald and Times Group, Johnston Press and television producer Tinopolis’s Mentorn Scotland subsidiary, which makes BBC’s Question Time.
Mark Wood, the SNC chairman, said: “We have a unique opportunity to change the nature of news provision for the people of Scotland for the better, and we are confident that we will.”
SNC said the win for the consortium would lead to the biggest shake-up of news in Scotland for decades. It added: “SNC is committed to delivering much more local and regional news and plans much more interaction with its audience than any other news service. Its aim is to achieve a real increase in the audience for Scottish news.
“ScotlandFirst – the proposed name for the news service – will be a fully integrated television and online service.”
Mr Wood said it was not yet known exactly how many staff would be needed by SNC, which would also use reporters employed by consortium members at 50 offices around Scotland.
But he said it would be a normal transfer for the STV workers under employment-protection rules.
Preferred bidders were also announced yesterday to run two other new pilot regional television news operations, in Wales and Tyne Tees/Border.
All were chosen by an independent selection panel appointed by the UK Government. It had invited bids after commercial stations said they could no longer afford to make local bulletins.
The successful consortia will receive £47million in government funding over two years to provide local news across the web, mobile and other new platforms, as well as in the television slots currently occupied by STV and ITV regional news.
Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said: “This is an important step towards our goal of ensuring choice for people who value high-quality, independent local news.”
He added: “The funding available to these consortia represents a massive commitment from this government to help encourage the long-term sustainability of news in the nations, locally and in the regions.”
It has been suggested that the funding could disappear if the Tories win the forthcoming general election.
But Mr Wood is hopeful that a deal with STV and the government will be signed before then.
“If we have an agreement, we will be fine,” he added.