June: 3VTV Event

June: 3VTV Event

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By Hywel Wiliam,
Monday, 1st July 2013

Above: Staff from the Communities 2.0 digital inclusion project at the event

Project Manager, Gemma Collins, is refreshingly honest in her assessment of the challenges to make 3VTV sustainable for the long term.  The web-based community video service for Blaenau Gwent serves one of the UK's most deprived communities, but on the 13th of June, in a joint event, held in conjunction with RTS Wales and the University of South Wales's Centre for Hyperlocal Media, Gemma was upbeat, claiming that, "If shoppers in Blaenau Gwent spent £5 more per week with local businesses, it would be worth £14.8 million annually to the local economy".

3VTV was originally launched in January 2012 as an online, on-demand, television service for Blaenau Gwent, serving the area's five main towns.  The pilot project is financed partly by the Welsh Government and is run by what is now known as the University of South Wales.  Over the past few months 3VTV has undergone a radical transformation into a hyperlocal web-based service with a strong business focus.  3VTV's ethos is to offer a Shyperlocal service for the high streetT and provide a way for people living in these communities to "live local, shop local" and support local businesses in the area.  The web site has been redesigned, and now offers a video portal for the services of local businesses and community activities, with bespoke sections focussing on Abertillery, Blaina, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.

The event included presentations and short videos describing 3VTV's new and innovative plan to provide incentives through discount vouchers and other similar schemes, encouraging active local participation.  There was also a brief presentation from Jess Jones, who has volunteered for 3VTV for more than a year.  Future plans include developing the web site into a 'virtual high street', with Gemma saying that her goal was to enable people to "shop in Blaenau Gwent's five town centres on-line".

3VTV is currently recruiting local volunteers across Blaenau Gwent to act as community reporters, with media training provided locally by the University of South Wales, thanks to a partnership with social enterprise People's Voice Media.  Against the background of the growth in Smart TVs and the take-up of on-line services, it is in this context that Gemma defines the service's future, "3VTV is not a TV Channel but a bespoke marketing platform for local town centres".

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