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Local TV rollout halted as Ofcom scraps plans for 13 new channels

OfcomThe much-vaunted rollout of local TV across the UK appears to have been halted after the broadcast regulator scrapped plans to award new local TV licences in 13 towns ancd cities.

Ofcom has decided not to pursue attempts to find licence holders for possible new TV stations in the areas following a public consultation.

As a result, it will not advertise licences for potential channels in Bangor, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Stratford-upon-Avon, Barnstaple, Limavady, Derry/Londonderry, Inverness, Luton, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Gloucester or the Forth Valley.

The decision releases Comux, which operates the transmission infrastructure for local TV, from its obligation to build new masts that would have been needed to support services in these particular locations.

The locations affected were among 47 specified in an initial commitment by Comux to the local television project, which was launched during Jeremy Hunt’s tenure as Culture Secretary in 2012.

In a report confirming its decision, Ofcom stated: “Having considered all the consultation responses, we confirm our provisional decision.

“The consultation has confirmed that continuing to require the extension of the local TV transmission network to these locations or substitute areas, as previously planned, would have an adverse impact on the economic viability of the local TV sector.

“This decision will release Comux, the party responsible for providing the transmission infrastructure for local TV, from its current obligation to build the transmission infrastructure in these locations.”


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  • July 30, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    If the scant local content, amateurish quality and low technical standards of the Birmingham-based version are anything to go by, no-one in the cancelled areas will be missing anything whatsoever.

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  • July 30, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    The complete shambles and embarrassing and costly failure that was Archants Mustard tv ought to be a lesson to anyone considering applying for a hyper local tv franchise.
    Regional print publishers are out of their depths in a medium they simply don’t understand and aren’t geared up to produce or present watchable programming as the £656,000 loss mustard tv incurred in its first year alone proved,being nothing more than a very costly tactic to ring fence potential advertising revenues in their Norwich territory which in the end imploded having been allowed to crash along far too long losing thousands before the plug was eventually pulled.
    With local national and independent broadcast news programmes already serving the country very well, todays announcement must be seen as nothing other than good news.

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  • July 31, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Still can’t believe this car-crash of a project went ahead. As Word Furnace rightly points out, television programming and scheduling (not to mention the technical aspects of production) are a whole other skillset and the idea that regional publishers could simply bolt it on to their existing operations is laughable.

    I still think it’s a shame, though, that online video (NOT television – I’m talking about simple 30-60 second videos, but shot by people who actually know what they’re doing) remains an untapped medium for storytelling in our industry.

    I see many stories in local papers that would make for a nice little accompanying clip on the website, but of course most newsrooms are far too under-resourced (and most news websites under-monetised) for that to be feasible.

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  • July 31, 2018 at 11:22 am

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that Made in Tyne & Wear TV is produced by media and journalism students from Sunderland Uni, but the students own output and content is actually far superior.

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