South East Wales

Blaenau Gwent internet channel 3VTV launched to boost Ebbw Vale

An internet TV channel has been launched to help regenerate part of the south Wales valleys.

Aimed at residents of Blaenau Gwent, 3VTV will broadcast features and promote local businesses.

The films are being made by a team at the University of Wales, Newport, working with local people and firms.

Prof Gillian Youngs said: "It really is experimental, to see what you can do with local TV".

Based at The Works regeneration site in Ebbw Vale, 3VTV is backed by a £450,000 grant from the Welsh Government.

Blaenau Gwent was chosen for a pilot scheme by the university's Institute of Advance Broadcasting as an area in need of new prosperity following the decline of heavy industry.

It was named on Monday as the least resilient of the 22 local authority areas of Wales in a report commissioned by BBC Wales into the nation's economic fortunes.

Speaking ahead of the channel's launch on Tuesday, Ms Youngs told BBC Radio Wales they were keen to see how digital media could be used to boost the fortunes of hard-pressed communities.

But she insisted there was more to 3VTV than adverts for local firms.

"(There'll be) lots of films about the area and involving people from the area," she said.

"Even before the launch, we estimate we're involved with around 100 businesses and local organisations.

"The idea is to offer businesses a professional way into the online - we're really interested to see how people use the channel, what they like and what they don't like."

The launch of 3VTV comes in the midst of a drive by the UK government to encourage the creation of a new tier of local TV stations to be broadcast alongside the mainstream channels.

Cardiff and Swansea have been named as being among the first batch of 20 licences to be advertised.

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