Edinburgh festivals will get their own TV channel in PR blitz
EDINBURGH'S festivals will have their own television channel with plans to promote them under one banner for the first time, The Scotsman has learned.
Filming of the city's 12 main events will begin next month.
As well as appearing on a new online television "station", the footage will also be featured on websites, made available to broadcasters and used at global travel fairs.
Celebrities who appear at major events such as the Fringe and the film festival will be asked to film their endorsements of Edinburgh.
Mini-movies are expected to be made featuring footage shot at events such as Edinburgh's Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations, the Tattoo and the Fringe so that ready-made material is available for television and cinema adverts.
The channel is expected to work with major broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel 4 to improve coverage of the capital's events, which organisers have long complained lags behind that devoted to the likes of Glastonbury or the Proms. It is understood the channel will also try to get exclusive access to celebrity appearances at the book and film festivals.
Martin Reynolds, head of marketing at umbrella group Festivals Edinburgh, said the creation of the channel and proper digital content "sell the live festival experience".
He said: "We're looking to compile around 400 clips which could then be used by broadcasters; for PR and marketing campaigns (and] on websites like Facebook and MySpace.
"We hope to establish a year-round TV crew and create an archive of the kind of content that individual festivals just don't have access to at the moment."
The TV channel is one of the first projects being developed by Festivals Edinburgh. A new "brand" image for the capital's major festivals will be unveiled next week along with details of other initiatives.
The Scotsman can reveal they will include a campaign to lure visitors north from English cities such as Leeds and Manchester; major promotional drives in the US and Canada; a plan to compile a shared database of half a million festival-goers, and encourage festivals to promote other events in Edinburgh.
The first television advertising campaign devoted to the festivals will be targeted at potential audiences across Scotland, as a result of research showing poor ticket sales in Glasgow, Perth, Dundee and elsewhere.
Festivals Edinburgh also plans to launch an online ticket portal next summer to allow festival-goers to buy all their tickets on one site. There are also plans to expand on the Fringe's August operation by creating a "ticketing village" at Princes Mall.
Currently, anyone trying to buy tickets in person for shows across the Fringe, Tattoo and Edinburgh International Festival and other events must visit separate box offices. Mr Reynolds said the long-term aim was to make it as easy for audiences to buy tickets as it is in Leicester Square in London or Times Square in New York.
Meanwhile, Faith Liddell, the director of Festivals Edinburgh, is demanding action over the lack of "city dressing" laid on for major events, saying the capital lags well behind places like Singapore and Sydney.
Dave Anderson, Edinburgh City Council's director of city development, said there was a clear need to ensure the city centre was looking at its best when events are on.
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