Tag Archives: local tv

View TV Group plans to bring local TV to 660 UK towns

A company specialising in video on demand and TV production has set up a platform that allow towns to buy a licence and broadcast content online.

View TV Group is currently working with 78 towns and aims for a total of 660 to sign up to use its “View TV Local”, a BBC iPlayer-style site compatible with iPhone and iPad.

The proposition is that each town will provide half its content and View TV Group will supply the rest, with the same programming, such as motoring reviews and national programmes, being rolled out to all areas.

The company plans to “up sell” the local content created to the TV stations which are planned as part of culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s planned local TV network.

Earlier this week, Hunt backtracked on plans to create a centralised service and instead confirmed he favours individual TV stations.

Chairman and founder of View TV Group Jamie Branson told Journalism.co.uk the company’s proposals offered something different.

“Think of View TV Local as more like a hyperlocal and Hunt’s plans as regional TV,” he explained.

View TV Group is now selling licences for towns with costs starting at around £10,000, which pays for the technology, support and unlimited video upload.

After paying for a licence the local TV channels can bring in revenue by selling local advertising, a cut of which goes to the View TV Group. The company believes it has devised a revenue model that will work and “where the only risk is the initial licence fee”, Branson explained.

Branson did not want to reveal company names but said his firm is in talks with a newspaper group, plus several magazines and online publishers interested in local TV and video content.

Hunt favours individual stations for local television plan

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has backtracked on his plans to introduce a local TV network.

Hunt originally wanted a single network channel – based around a ‘national spine’ – before changing to a more locally run approach.

After a consultation, the culture secretary changed the proposals, and has now settled on a final published framework.

Hunt‘s original plans would have seen a centralised national channel with syndicated programming, which would act as the hub which local channels could feed.

Instead, the final plan favours a network of individual TV stations.

Hunt said he planned to provide bidders with a digital terrestrial TV spectrum, managed by a new licensed multiplex company.

The next task for Hunt is to, in his words, “secure prominence” for the network on Freeview and other electronic programme guides.

In a written ministerial statement, Hunt said: “The proposals include three statutory instruments: the first, to reserve sufficient local, low-cost spectrum for carrying the local TV services; the second to create a proportionate and targeted licensing regime for the spectrum and local TV service operators; and the third, to secure appropriate prominence for the licensed local services in television electronic programme guides.”

“Local TV will provide news and other content for local audiences helping to hold local institutions to account and providing proper local perspectives. This framework offers the right incentives to the market to develop innovative business models; provides greater certainty and reduced risk for investors; and encourages new market opportunities and growth,” he added.

“It is expected the first local television licences will be awarded by Ofcom from summer 2012.”

The infrastructure costs will be met from £25 million allocated as part of the BBC licence fee settlement.

Guardian: Jeremy Hunt stakes his reputation on local television

Bids for expressions of interest for Jeremy Hunt’s proposed new national channel, dubbed ‘Channel 6’, are due tomorrow. The Guardian reports that community purists fear just another national channel while others are sceptical of plan’s commercial viability.

Hunt’s approach on this journey has been distinctive. The culture secretary has ignored the naysayers, ridden roughshod over the equivocal advice he has received from Lazard banker Nicholas Shott, and is relying on the bidders to make the idea work. Judging by the initial levels of interest, Hunt is doing well, although it is still early days. Tomorrow’s call for expressions of interest is limited to bidders providing a 10-page business plan – little more, critics say, than a beauty parade of half-baked ideas.

Full story on Guardian.co.uk at this link


Channel 6 to partner with universities across the UK

Channel 6 is to team up with Skillset to “explore partnerships and collaborative opportunities” with more than 20 media colleges and universities in the UK, according to reports this week.

The Drum claims that Channel 6, which is reportedly planning on bidding for the new national TV network announced by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt last month, to support local television across the UK, already has plans underway to work with both Sunderland and Cardiff University.

Richard Horwood, chief executive of Channel 6, said universities are “key local partners”.

Over the next few months we will be sitting down with our partner colleges and universities to discuss in detail how we can collaborate most effectively. We’ll be looking at issues like access to studios, production, and post-production facilities, providing internships for undergraduates and jobs for graduates, maybe even setting up our local affiliates on campus. Depending on the business model we agree, our partner universities could participate directly in the profitability of the local affiliate.

Guardian: Greg Dyke’s LTN group to bid for national TV network

The Guardian reports this morning that the Local Television Network, which is headed by former BBC director general Greg Dyke, is planning on bidding for a new national TV network announced by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt last month.

Dyke’s group, which is yet to be incorporated, agreed at a meeting on Monday to put in a formal expression of interest in running the national channel to Hunt, who is asking for submissions by Tuesday, 1 March. LTN joins Richard Horwood’s Channel 6 in the bidding for the national TV channel.

The new channel forms part of the government’s review of media and communications, unveiled by Hunt at the Oxford Media Convention. The initial schemes will be focused on 10 to 20 local TV services, operating by 2015 with the first local services licensed from 2012.

Jeremy Hunt on local TV plans: full speech

Jeremy Hunt outlined the government’s plans for local television at the Oxford Media Convention today, announcing a new national television channel which will be devoted to providing local news and information via regional services.

See Journalism.co.uk’s full news story at this link.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport has published a copy of Hunt’s speech in full, which can be seen here.

Ofcom delivers local TV report to Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The department for culture, media and sport has said it is now considering a report by Ofcom on ways in which the current system of public service broadcasting (PSB) might be changed to help deliver local TV services, and will announce its plans in the new year on the “next steps for local TV in the UK”.

The report was published on Friday for the department after culture secretary Jeremy Hunt asked Ofcom to produce the report in his speech at the RTS International Conference in September.

It sets out options relating to commercial PSB providers ITV1, Channel 4/S4C and Five as well as ways that new providers of local services might be assisted.

Some of the main recommendations/considerations taken from the report:

  • There is a significant opportunity under current legislation to create a new licensing regime for local TV on digital terrestrial TV (DTT). In the future this could help create a clearer regulatory distinction between national and local providers of content and new revenue opportunities could potentially be created if a new local TV channel was carried on DTT.
  • The Government could decide to add any new local TV service to a list called ‘must carry’ – meaning the channel must be available through all platforms which have a significant audience size and that the owner of the platform is under a legal obligation to ensure the channel is shown.
  • If the Government wants to add extra material obligations on existing providers, it may be necessary to reduce current obligations and quotas – such as ‘out of London production’ – to balance the future incentives and obligations associated with PSB status.

Local TV operators criticise new service YouView in letter to Times

Plans for YouView, a new TV service offering on-demand and internet-connected features from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, have been criticised by local TV operators and production firms.

Geraldine Allinson, chairwoman of KM Group and Helen Philpot, managing director of north Lincolnshire TV channel Channel 7 CIC, were amongst the signatories of a letter to the Times late last week that said YouView had been “parachuted” into the “new and exciting market” of internet-connected television sets.

The full list of signatories:

  • Peter Williams, Peter Williams Television;
  • Jim Deans Global Digital Broadcast/Devlin Media;
  • Graham Cowling, TVChichester;
  • Rodney Hearth, the UK Entertainment Channel;
  • Geoff Kershaw, Channel Green TV;
  • Alan Cummings, Channel 9 TV/UC Business;
  • Marilyn Hyndman, Northern Visions / NvTv;
  • Dave Rushton, Institute of Local Television;
  • Daniel Cass, SIX TV;

Jaqui Devereux, United for Local Television.

The objections from the group echo those made against the BBC’s proposals to expand its local video content, which were rejected by the BBC Trust in November 2008.

The letter says that YouView could “hijack the fledgling local TV market” and calls for a thorough competition investigation of the platform:

Collectively these organisations control nearly three quarters of all television viewing and the entire digital terrestrial TV transmission network.

The BBC and its partners claim that YouView offers a common set of technical standards that will help everyone get the best out of this exciting new world. But it can equally be interpreted as an attempt by some of the biggest players in the business to hijack this fledgling market, impose their own vision of how it will operate and dictate the viewers’ experience.

The joint venture partners will control all aspects of the platform and its operational policies. If any third parties wish to participate, they will have to do so on the terms dictated to them by the UK’s largest free-to-air broadcasters.

Full letter at this link (subscription required)…

paidContent:UK takes a look at why local TV providers should work with YouView…

Jeremy Hunt: Providing local content should be condition of broadcasters’ licences

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt will say today that he intends to make the provision of local content a condition of the licences given to commercial broadcasters like ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

In a speech today to the Royal Television Society, Hunt will also tell those channels with a public service broadcasting remit (PSBs) that retaining a prime position in the Electronic Programme Guide or future equivalent would depend on their commitment to “content with a social or cultural benefit”.

I will begin the process of redefining public service broadcasting for the digital age by asking Ofcom to look at how we can ensure that enough emphasis is given to the delivery of local content.

Of course not all PSBs will want, or be able, to be local broadcasters. But I’m determined that we should recognise the public value in those that do.

Echoing the sentiments of his party’s ‘big society’ idea, Hunt will warn broadcasters about not investing in local news:

If we remain centralised, top-down and London-centric – in our media provision as in the rest of government – we will fail to reflect the real demand for stronger local identity that has always existed and that new technologies are now allowing us to meet.

Hunt will add that he has been “strongly encouraged by the serious thought that the BBC has been giving to how it might partner with new local media providers”.

He is expected to say that, despite the UK “fast becoming one of the most atomised societies in the world”, those looking back in the future will see its media as “deeply, desperately centralised.”

They will be astonished to find that three out of five programmes made by our public service broadcasters are produced in London.

They will note that there is nothing but national news on most of the main channels, beamed shamelessly from the centre.

And they will discover token regional news broadcasts that have increasingly been stretched across vast geographical areas – with viewers in Weymouth watching the same so-called “local” story as viewers in Oxford. Viewers in Watford watching the same story as viewers in Chelmsford.

Hunt will also set out his vision for local TV provision:

My vision is of a landscape of local TV services broadcasting for as little as one hour a day;

Free to affiliate to one another – formally or informally – in a way that brings down costs;

Free to offer nationwide deals to national advertisers;

Able to piggyback existing national networks – attracting new audiences and benefitting from inherited ones at the same time;

And able to exploit the potential of new platform technologies such as YouView and mobile TV to grow their service and improve their cost-effectiveness.

In June, Hunt scrapped plans for new local news networks set up by the previous government. Hunt called the plans for Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) in Tyne Tees and Borders, Scotland, and Wales “misguided” and claimed they “risked turning a whole generation of media companies into subsidy junkies, focusing all their efforts not on attracting viewers but on persuading ministers and regulators to give them more cash”.

Read Jeremy Hunt’s RTS speech in full here (PDF)

paidContent: Advisory panel preparing report on local TV development

A report on ways to establish new local TV services is due to be delivered to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt by the end of the month, paidContent reports today.

An advisory panel tasked with examining broadcast models has reportedly been sifting through the many submissions on the issue and has also been consulting with local newspaper groups and other organisations.

Quoted in the paidContent report, panel member Claire Enders, founder of Enders Analysis, warned that the group’s proposals will not be “earth-shattering” due to geographical issues.

We are making patient progress, but there are long, intractable issues. We are doing our best to go through all the business models. We are leaving no stone unturned. We are aware of how keen the minister is.

But one of the obvious things about the UK is that our conurbations are not appropriate for local television, they are not big enough. We will get somewhere, which advances the minister’s agenda, but it will not be earth-shattering stuff.

In a speech earlier this year Hunt said the lack of quality local television is “one of the biggest gaps in British broadcasting”.