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Council pulls plug on online broadcaster Kent TV

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by political editor Paul Francis

Kent County Council is to scrap its internet TV channel Kent TV.

The project, which has cost the taxpayer in the region of £1.8million since it began broadcasting two and half years ago, is to end next month.

The decision comes after much speculation over its future, even though a tender process had begun for a new four-year contract.

But the council has today announced it will not be continuing with the project which has been run by Ten Alps, a company founded by Sir Bob Geldof. It employed 10 people.

In a statement, Kent County Council leader Cllr Paul Carter said: "Kent TV has proved itself to be a brave and bold innovation and we have learned a great deal from it. It has provided a source of practical, useful information for residents."

But he added: "We are living in different and difficult economic times compared with when the pilot was launched in September 2007. In difficult times our spending has to be prioritised. We have therefore decided that Kent TV will not continue when the pilot period ends in March 2010."

Liberal Democrat KCC opposition leader Cllr Trudy Dean said: "This is the right decision but it is unofrtunate that it has taken since last September to reach it and as a result the council wasted another £400,000 extending the contract.

"Community TV has to come from the community and Kent TV never did that. It was a top-down and the viewing figures were just not good enough to attract the revenue and sponsorship that was needed."

It was right for the authority to try and get its message across but it should focus on other outlets, such as YouTube, she added.

Labour spokesman Cllr Les Christie: "At long last, KCC has realised what we have said all along, namely that Kent TV was not value for money and the money should have been invested in frontline services for the young and elderly.

"The council has wasted taxpayers' money on something that very few people watched."

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