Ofcom is consulting on how to award Local TV licences, and has some suggestions about how the national broadcaster, and the channels, might make ends meet. The Ministry of Fun has decreed that there will be Local TV channels pushed into the UK white spaces, and tasked Ofcom with finding a way to make it happen. The regulator has …
You mean these things are going to be ground rather than satellite or cable based? Does anyone still use Freeview?!
...all of us not stupid enough to fork out a small fortune for American drivel, football and reruns...
"...all of us not stupid enough to fork out a small fortune for American drivel, football and reruns..."
Hmmm you do know Channel 5 is still on Freeview....
@ Channel 5
It is, but we don't have to watch it and we certainly don't pay a subscription to get it..
Have you ever been to Milton Keynes?
No satellite dishes allowed, aluminium phone lines so no ADSL in most areas and lots of obsolete fibre cable technology.
Have you walked around Milton Keynes recently
1. Lots of Satellite dishes abound
2. Many FTTC cabinets abound
Milton Keynes is deliberately not allowed broadband...
If the people who lived there had broadband, they'd see how much better the rest of the world is. And that would make them sad, and the experiment would fail.
The Ministry of Fun seem blind to the previous local TV stations that operated on analogue. Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight all had stations. All were filled with tripe, terrible prints of movies from the 1940's, bought in American kids shows that nobody else wanted, teleshopping and low quality local programming. Nobody watched them, nobody advertised on them, all of them closed.
Channel M in Manchester made a better stab at it but even that closed. It's a completely unsustainable and is a vanity project for Jeremy Hunt.
With local radio going down the pan because of lack of advertising even though it has cheaper running costs, what makes Hunt think this will succeed? Unless it's all a plan to line the pockets of his mates?
All about content
I watched a documentary about a year ago where one local cable operator had started piping the local CCTV over one of their channels, blurred enough to stop easily identifying people but with sound.
It was outrageously popular, I'm sure they were pulling in around 40% of the daytime audience or something ridiculous like that. Find the right content at the right price and there is no reason local tv couldn't work.
Channel M was crap, though
The only good thing to come out of it was Frank Sidebottom and he's not around any more.. I'm told it was mostly run as a way of training local media students on TV production.
OTOH how a *good* station is expected to be funded out of local advertising is a mystery to me.
Why does London need one?
Surely the BBC already operates a local London service - it's called BBC1.....
so, can we expect lots of....
Party on!! Excellent!!!" type quality programming?
problem is, we have youtube and ustream and livestream for that kind of thing, what's the point of these local stations?
Has anyone actually seen any genuine demand for this crap?
There was a rumour some had been spotted hanging around on Dartmoor a couple of months ago, but a closer inspection revealed it was actually a very distant relative, Mild Academic Interest. Experts believe Genuine Demand for local TV became extinct sometime in September 1929 around half an hour and a cup of tea after JLBs first demo broadcast. Other claim it was never anything other than a myth concocted by politicians and media moguls who resent the fact that, in spite of their best efforts, the BBC refuses to disappear.
Sack these idiots. Besides Parliament should decide Broadcasting Broad policy, and then C4 and BBC as the PSBs should implement "local Tv". If you make it remotely commercially viable or unsubsidised it will be Babestation + QVC.
Pearl and Dean
So what we're going to get is a channel or two playing 23 hours of adverts for the local curry emporium and then a jobseeker reading bits from the local paper?
I've upvoted you
Because great minds think alike. Or fools seldom differ.
> So what we're going to get is a channel or two playing 23 hours of adverts for the local curry emporium and then a jobseeker reading bits from the local paper?
... which is pretty much what's provided by all the shit on sky, virgin and freeview already.
local tv might as well broadcast the test card. it would get an audience, serve a useful purpose and the content would have a lot more thought behind it than the rest of the channels put together.
Why oh why oh why?
This is all nonsense. You can't fund a TV station from Pearl & Dean-style curry house adverts. The programming will be crap, nobody will watch it and it'll just be a money pit. Why bother?
I can only imagine that Ofcom think they're going to make bazillians from licensing channel slots. They'll be sadly mistaken.
If this was remotely viable people would already be doing it on satellite. If some of the obscure stuff on there can be viable then surely someone would have thought of a TV station just for London or other major cities? They haven't because it doesn't work.
If it does go ahead what will happen is eventually it will go the way of local radio, with a national service much of the time with local opt outs.
You may have have heard of that. It's called ITV......
"The programming will be crap, nobody will watch it and it'll just be a money pit."
That's probably true, but there have been historical exceptions.
I'm all in favour of local content for local people as long as it's more like Network 021 than L!ve TV.
Network 021 in Birmingham, in the days of Birmingham Cable, was actually quite watchable in small doses (and they only had money for small doses, so that was OK). More watchable for me than the vast majority of Sky channels, and indeed most Freeview channels (what a swizz Freeview is).
Obviously it won't appeal to everyone, in the same way that neither Morse nor XFactor nor TeleAttenborough appeal to everyone. But done well, it might be OK.
There's a five minute archive selection at  (which may help to convince the unbelievers at ATVland that Network 021 did really exist, albeit only briefly). Obviously other areas may not have been so lucky with their local content back in the day, and then the rules changed to help the near-bankrupt cablecos cut costs even further, and the worthless rubbish that was L!veTV replaced the likes of Network 021.
"I'm all in favour of local content for local people as long as it's more like Network 021 than L!ve TV."
Personally, I'd prefer Network 23 - as long as they go easy on the blipverts.
Terminator, as it's the closest thing to Max Headroom I could find...
Th Th Tha That's all folks
Network 23 *plus* Network 021 would be good.
That's 44. That's two channel 4s. That would have been good too, once. But these days, 44 is actually 5+1. Which is 6. Or not. If you see what I mean.
Blank Reg hangs out round here from time to time. He'll sort it.
"... exempted from the European cap on advertising"
Well that's halved the potential audience at a stroke, and I doubt both of them will watch at the same time.
Has anyone looked at these local stations in the US?
I know the idea of a TV network in the US is a bit different to what we currently have here in the UK (Ie- the network is only there pretty much during prime time), but some of them are doing something like 40+ hours of local news per week - is there really that much happening locally in these places?
Local US stations
There are lots of people in the US who watch local stations, but our local stations tend to have some several nationally syndicated shows on them as well. I think the large amount of news contains mostly repeated information over and over, I know the national 24 hour news channels do.
Over here people didn't move from local over the air stations to cable very quickly, and when they did cable was pretty much forced to include the local stations to get people to join up.
We'll have none of your kind here! This is a local station, for local people!
Not got enough advertisers? It'll go down the toilet quicker than a dead goldfish.
Got enough advertisers? There'll be about 10% non-advertising content just to break even, viewers will turn off, advertisers will see the drop in ratings, see above.
Been there before
I'm sure I remember local TV stations, it was called the ITV network and each region had its own identity and schedule. Didn't they all end up as one single TV company after the market got deregulated? All that's left are the regional news programmes which, to be frank, are crap. If the stories were news-worthy, they would make the national news. I really don't care if Mrs Goggins' cat has turned up 30 miles down the road or if some minor celeb has opened a refurbished hospital ward.
"If the stories were news-worthy, they would make the national news"
Well, no. Consider a debate about (eg) a new residential development in $SUBURB. Of no interest at all to people living in elsewhere, but very important indeed to those who might end up with a new 22 story tower block (or other planning eyesore/lucrative development) in the vicinity. Or what about elections for local ward councillors?
elections for local ward councillors?
Local politicians like idea of opportunity to appear on telly? Of course they do! But will anyone but their mum be watching?
council elections: will anyone but their mum be watching?
Last local elections I had almost no information about the candidates I was supposed to be choosing between. And for local elections, I prefer not to based my vote on whether or not I like cam/clegg/milli more or less than the others.
Local channel sounds like.......
...the local cable access channels in the US. Lots of programs about the 'real' answer to the Meaning of Life (it has to do with the freedom to consume marijuana) and pre-suicidals with a yen for publicity.
In case anyone is confused, the reason for pushing local TV in this way is to divert money away from BBC local radio, forcing a reduction in both broadcast hours and local staff (reporters) and making life easier for the commercial local newspapers & radio stations, most of which are owned by a few large companies.
This is likely to be popular with local councilors and some sections of the local business community.
It could work
There's a lot of stuff that would work locally if it was really local and community based - not foisted on the locals by outsiders with ideas of "what's good for them"
Anyway, what's wrong with Kitten TV?
Did the Dept. of Fun actually ask anyone with industry knowledge?
It's *massively* underfunded to achieve quality; the initial setup costs might make half a dozen usable small broadcast centres, but there isn't money for talent so what you'll see is going to be the equivalent of the freebie local newspaper - two pages of local news, a page of letters, and fifty pages of unread adverts - straight from the letter box to the recycling bin.
I don't doubt the feelings and enthusiasm of the people who will attempt this, but history suggests they're doomed.
it's a chance to bring back "Get Stuffed"
well, for Norwich anyway
Any fule kno, the only ways to make money out of New Media are porn & gambling. So, teleshopping in the morning, greyhound racing in the afternoon, 2 hours of local drivel 6 to 8, poker in the evening and "Reader's Wives" for the insomniacs.
Local TV??? I won't get excited because it probably won't be too long before Ofcom play into the hands of some money grabbing nationwide group by relaxing regulations and next thing you know what was a network of local stations will be a network of nationwide "repeaters".... If they follow their own example of what they allowed to happen to "local radio" anyway...
""relaxing regulations and next thing you know what was a network of local stations will be a network of nationwide "repeaters""
That's pretty much how L!veTV mentioned earlier (led by Kelvin Mackenzie and Janet Street Porter, what could possibly go right) happened in 1995. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L!VE_TV
The regulators have got form on this in TV back then (under a different name) as well as more recently in radio. Who's pulling their strings?
More money for the boys
This sounds like a scam, someone is asking for this to happen or they wouldn't be suggesting it.
TV broadcasting is not the best way to do this. The spectrum should be used for data, perhaps metropolitan wifi networks. Local radio with occasional livestream and youtube video would be far more cost effective and allow better production standards.
James Naughtie was right
Jeremy *unt clearly needs a vanity project to get some headlines, so that the populace (less the Prime Minister and Chancellor) briefly forget that he runs a bloated and pointless Third Division ministry, that only serves to piss tax payers money up a wall in ever differing patterns.
Jezza has clearly not been outside London (where BBC London and the national news are symbiotic, as most stabbings/other crime so beloved of the news happen there) as if he had seen the dross on regional shows like South Today - or read the local paper - he'd have killed this turkey at birth.
"I think the large amount of [local US channel] news contains mostly repeated information over and over, I know the national 24 hour news channels do."
No need to go to the USA for this - it's called Sky News channel!
Speaking as one of the few people who's ever tried to do this...
Spoke to DCMS last year and plans are VERY VERY set in stone- the Ministry mandarin was quite literally terrified, ranty and sweating at the thought of any newfangled ideas that might have actually fixed this, like instant UGC upload and voting, grouped content sharing as Anglia/Meridian/London used to do, or Spotrunner-style online ad purchasing.
This is NOT GONNA FLY as a US-style local franchising model - mainly because their mandarins consultants clearly don't get how that works either (or more and more frequently,doesn't)..
"the dross on regional shows like South Today"
But South Today (and its equivalent elsewhere) isn't local. It might arguably be regional, and that is part of the problem.
Why is anyone (outside the D-list TV company presenters) in the west of South Today's region interested in the goings-on at the other end of the region. That's not local, it might as well be on another planet.
Local TV, for Berkshire from Berkshire, might arguably work. But there'd need to be more of them. That concept worked, in a small way, when it was local TV for Birmingham from people in/from Birmingham (back to Network 021, you see). But neither BBC Midlands nor Central TV offer that kind of service, they've been regional for years, and BBC "local" radio might as well be BBC regional radio these days, e.g. a retirement home for people whose real career in radio ended years ago, which means it might as well not bother.
Occasionally "local" radio used to come up with some gems which really ought to have a slot on national radio. One that springs to mind used to be on BBC Derby on a Sunday afternoon - focused primarily on electronic music from the likes of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, etc. There wasn't anything like it, it got Canned because it wasn't local, and where is its current equivalent?
On a vaguely related subject, Robin Valk has a few thoughts on the future of radio on his occasional blog. Long-time-ago midlands radio listeners may remember him.
If you have a satellite dish capable of pointing at 19.2E, point it at the German DVB-S stuff, see how many genuine regional and city-based stations they have, especially on digital (as well as the usual national commercial stuff). How do they make it work when UK plc can't?
Local TV! What Local TV?
All the places on the map are already big enough to have both BBC and ITV local programming. What's the point in allowing extra stations in these places?
And what about allowing licences for places outside major cities so that we can have some actually local news, even if the budget means it is rough & ready, rather than the stuff the big boys serve up as local news from places it would take me three hours to drive to? (The Beeb and ITV consider anywhere from Cornwall to Lincolnshire to be local to me.)