Pay-for-use could be Teachers TV survival plan

29th October 2010 at 01:00

Teachers TV could become a subscription-only service following the Government's decision to scrap funding for the channel.

The #163;10 million contract for the service - now based online only - will end in April, but channel bosses have vowed to explore other ways of keeping it open.

Teachers TV staff are working with the Department for Education to thrash out a plan for the future, which might include asking teachers to pay to use the channel.

Chief executive Clare Healy wants Teachers TV to continue operating and is searching for new ways of funding it.

The channel is owned by Ten Alps - musician Bob Geldof's multimedia company - and ITN. It launched in 2005 and became an internet-only service in September 2009 as part of an attempt by the previous government to save money.

Ten Alps has sold the format in Canada and reportedly wants to do deals in other countries. Its chief executive Alex Connock said the company had "no warning" that its funding was going to be axed.

"Our thinking has always been, should this day occur, that we would go back and try to run it on a subscription basis," he said.

The website has over 400,000 registered users and 100,000 videos are viewed each month. In the 12 months up to and including October 18 it had five million hits from three million unique visitors.

It is estimated that the school workforce watches around 4.7 million hours of Teachers TV content each year - equivalent to 783,000 training days.

Ms Healy hopes the demand for Teachers TV would grow as Government and council cuts affect school training budgets.

"We can confirm that the Department for Education has written to Teachers TV explaining our contract with them will come to an end in April 2011," she said.

"Teachers TV will be working closely with the Department for Education to formulate a clear transitional process between now and the termination of the contract.

"All of the 4,000 programmes will continue to be made available online. This will ensure that teachers, headteachers, teaching assistants and governors can continue to access www.teachers.tv for practical support, advice and guidance."

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