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Regional publisher submits bid to run local TV

Regional publisher Archant has submitted a bid to run a local TV channel in the city where it is based.

The company is one of the few newspaper publishers to express an interest in the government’s plans to roll out local TV services across the country, with a bid to run a channel in Norwich which would be called Mustard.

Archant had last year said it would do all it could to help with the creation of a local TV station in the city.

The deadline has now passed for bids to Ofcom to run local TV in 21 cities across the UK, including Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Cardiff, and all the applicants have been revealed.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt wants the first new local TV stations up and running by 2015 and is due to award the first licenses later this year.

Archant said it plans to launch Mustard Digital as an online TV platform next January, which will be joined by the freeview service later in the year if its bid is successful, which is one of just two applications for the Norwich licence.

Archant Anglia MD Johnny Hustler, who is Mustard chairman, said: “Archant has been providing news and information to the people of Norwich and Norfolk for the past 150 years.

“Mustard is another channel through which we can continue to provide this valuable service. The station will highlight a wide range of local issues, stimulating well-informed debate and motivating local people to engage with them.

“Partnerships established with academic institutions, local businesses and production companies will ensure that Mustard is an authentic local service made by and for the people of Norwich.”

Meanwhile, journalism students could be involved in delivering local TV services after bids were submitted to run channels in two Scottish cities.

Broadcaster STV has teamed up with Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Napier University to submit applications to Ofcom to deliver the two new channels.

If successful, the channels, which would be called Glasgow TV and Edinburgh TV, would provide media students at the universities with the chance to train in a working environment.

STV’s application proposes peak time content, including locally-relevant news and current affairs programming, along with a wide range of tailored magazine shows.

Professor Pamela Gillies, principal and vice chancellor at the Glasgow university, said: “We are ideally positioned to engage in this partnership, offering strengths such as our undergraduate and postgraduate Multimedia Journalism degrees, which have already produced graduates who have secured employment with STV.”

Among the other applicants to run services is the London Evening Standard, which wants to set up a channel in the capital called London Live, which would offer 18 hours of news, sport and entertainment a day.

Apart from this bid and the Archant one, regional newspaper publishers have not taken up the opportunity to apply to run local TV services, with some bosses having previously questioned the viability of the plans.

Former BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons has also put in a bid for licences as chairman of a company called YourTV.

Ofcom says it has now received a total of 57 applications across the 21 areas, with decisions on successful bids set to be made this autumn.

The full list of applicants to run local TV channels can be viewed here.


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