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PRESS RELEASE GOV.U.K REPORT: Plans for Local TV Stations to Remain on Air Until 2034 Subject to Review of Each Station


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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: June.07: 2023:

#AceBreakingNews – Local TV services are set to remain on the airwaves until 2034, subject to a review of each station’s future plans, under new proposals.

Local TV services are set to remain on the airwaves until 2034, subject to a review of each station’s future plans, under proposals set out today by the government.

  • Proposals to renew licences for the UK’s 34 local TV stations for ten more years
  • Ofcom to review stations’ plans to ensure they can continue meeting local audiences’ needs
  • Media industry and public invited to submit views in consultation published today

The plans would allow the media regulator Ofcom to renew the licences of all 34 local TV services, subject to a review of each station’s plans to continue meeting the needs of local audiences, which are currently due to expire in 2025.

Launched in 2013, local TV services are accessible to 15 million people (normally occupying channel 7 or 8 on Freeview) and are required to show a number of hours of local programming each day.

Stations across the country include London Live, Sheffield Live, Cardiff TV and That’s TV. Many have established themselves as a trusted source for local news and distinctive shows focused on smaller geographic areas than national public service broadcasters.

While recognising the challenges they have faced, particularly during the pandemic, the government believes that local TV services continue to play a role in the wider broadcasting ecosystem. Many services – such as Notts TV in Nottingham and KMTV in Kent – also boost local journalism through training programmes provided in production, news reporting and technical roles, which enable students to gain hands-on experience.

In recognition that some outlets have struggled to generate stable revenue streams, maintain consistent audience numbers and sustainably fund genuinely local content, the government has published a consultation inviting views on the opportunities and challenges facing the sector to ensure it can continue to serve audiences and be sustainable in the long term.


Media Minister John Whittingdale said:

Local TV stations from Belfast to Birmingham help to support local journalism, drive the creative economy and foster pride in communities. We want to see this continue, so we’ve set out plans for Ofcom to review all services to ensure they’re well positioned to continue serving local audiences with trusted and distinctive content for years to come

Ofcom will review each station’s proposals for the decade ahead to ensure they can maintain their current service and continue making distinctive shows which meet the needs of the local area.

If Ofcom approves their plans, services will be allowed to continue broadcasting until 2034 and retain several benefits – including a prominent position in electronic TV guides. Should current providers choose not to renew their licence, or Ofcom decides not to approve a renewal, Ofcom will move to a competitive relicensing process.

Consultation and objectives

The government set out its proposed approach to the renewal process in a consultation published today, which invites views on the current objectives licence holders are assessed against by Ofcom.

These objectives include producing content that provides social and economic benefit to the community, caters to the taste and interests of those they serve and increases the amount of programming made in the area.

Participants will also be invited to submit responses on innovative suggestions relating to how local TV could be used to enhance local journalism and democracy across the UK.

The 12-week consultation will close on 30 August and is open to both industry and members of the public. Subject to the outcome of consultation, the government plans to move forward with the necessary secondary legislation later this year.


Additional Notes:

  • While local TV no longer receives central government subsidy, services benefit from significantly reduced transmission costs, due to co-ownership of the local TV multiplex, and from prominence on traditional TV platforms – such as Freeview, Freesat and Sky – due to their status as public service channels.
  • In line with commitments made in the Broadcasting White Paper, the consultation also outlines plans to allow Ofcom to renew the licence of the local TV multiplex – which compresses and bundles a number of television services into one frequency and transmits it digitally – currently held by operator Comux.
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