back to article Ofcom: Now's your chance to make Local TV for Local People

Ofcom has received 87 expressions of interest from groups interested in running Local TV channels, and three companies interested in broadcasting them, so has launched the beauty contest to see who gets to be the next Alan Partridge. Local TV should be up and running within the next two years, in the 21 locations selected for …

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Facepalm

Just a way to burn money

We've had local telly before and it eventually turned into a half-hour news regional news bulletin. Is there really any need for anything else?

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Stop

Yup.

The expressions of interest are there, but it will be interesting to see how they plan their budgets. If the original requirement of two hours' 'quality programming' a day still stands, they're going to need someone with deep pockets because five million a year simply isn't going to cut it.

How to make a small fortune in local broadcasting? Start with a large one...

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Re: Yup.

BS i could give you two hours quality programming a day for £50,000 a year. 5 million is way overpriced.

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Re: Yup.

I can tell you've worked in the industry.

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Anonymous Coward

Channel M

Tried and tested

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Paris Hilton

Wow, I can't wait for the inevitable "Babestation Leeds Edition" which will be needed I am sure during the overnight period to make the revenue stack up - local Yorkshire lassies with their local lullies out for the lads - only £1.50 per min for a private chinwag - well you don't get owt for nowt!

I'd like to see the BBC buy that as a shining example of local content and stick it on iPlayer!

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>I'd like to see the BBC buy that as a shining example of local content

Welkum t'uh Click, Yorkshh 'dition.

Ahm Spencer Keighley, bringin thee all t'pewter and t'internet news from reet round region...

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Trollface

What is the point nowadays?

Finally, the TV infrastructure will be ready to offer the high quality local content to small audiences that 1992 deserves. I just hope that this investment of time and infrastructure isn't superceded by some better and more flexible communication network several years before it gets running...

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White Elephant

Utter waste of time and money. The stations in Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight were all dire, had no adverts and spent their time playing imports and terrible prints of 1940's movies.

Even Channel M in Manchester recently went bust and that is in a major city with a vibrant culture and plenty of money.

Even local radio stations are struggling for advertising and closing/merging left right and centre.

This entire idea is just a vanity project for Jezza Hunt, probably because one of his medja mates would quite like the opportunity to run one of the stations and possibly tie it in with a cluster of his radio stations (no names, etc).

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Web TV

These stations will need to engage with 'web tv' people I reckon, such as Felicia Day who know how to produce a good show with a very limited budget.

I think that this idea of a broadcast local TV system is pointless - give them funding to produce web tv instead, and it'll save a fortune in costs.

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Re: Web TV

If ITV couldn't get regional television to pay properly - well it used to but now the local area that used to be Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and a bit of Dorset seems to run all the way up to Swindon, I don't see how "local" TV is going to pay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Web TV

ITV did get regional TV to pay. The problem was the government saw just how much money it made and raped it in the 1990 broadcasting act.

What followed is well documented but what it amounted to was the dismantling of a system that was extremely profitable and successful in order to extract maximum revenue for the government and ultimately shareholders.

But ITV was a national network. So the success of shows like Coronation Street filtered down to all franchisees and enabled them to produce regional programmes.

It was a system that was working fine until the 1992 franchise round. But then people like Carlton came in who were only interested in making money.

What you have today is a single network with a small amount of regional coverage produced on the cheap because Ofcom have a gun to their heads. No more than the minimum is produced.

This new idea won't work. To make the kind of stuff the old ITV franchisees made you need money and resources that only came in the days when an ITV franchise was "a licence to print money".

Oddly enough I was watching a clip of LWT's Six O'Clock show on Youtube the other day. A London only magazine show, it was hosted by Michael Aspel at the peak of his powers and had a studio audience (recorded in the main studio at LWT). The episode I saw had two separate live OB's feeding into the show. LWT did this because they COULD. A hugely rich ITV franchise, a relatively obscure teatime magazine show had the full force of LWT's facilities behind it. When you have the money it's easy!

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Anonymous Coward

Awesome news

will be broadcasting soon, all the awesome bits but without the dreary talking. I'm gonna call it BOOM BOOM news extreme!

Sheesh!

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Poor quality content? Big gamble.

The cable/satelite/regional channels products a lot of poor quality content, so what are we expecting from even smaller channels with tiny budgets and big overheads? I remember community channels from the 1990's (Videotron cable TV for example) and while one or two programmes were good it wasn't sustainable and it had limited broadcasting hours because it's not possible to fill a whole day with content. If people channel hop and see the station in "shutdown mode" they probably won't stop there again when hopping.

The amount of work that needs to go into procuding good content is huge, but it can help a lot if the presenter is very gifted and can entertain an audience without a script... which would effectively turn the channel into a showcase for the individual and they'd be scooped up quickly by bigger channels leaving the community channel in the lurch.

What's wrong with web TV? There are no broadcasting overheads if you upload content to existing CDNs (YouTube and others). If the content is good then it will eventually attract viewers - and from further afield than the intended local city/town.

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Re: Poor quality content? Big gamble.

You know all they have to do is put stuff on that isn't predictable and doesn't require paying out vast sums of money. Quiz shows are predictable and pay out vast sums of money. Soaps are predictable and pay out vast sums of money (salaries).

A video of a dog chasing a car or a drunk man stumbling about is not predictable and costs nothing.

Just get someone with a camera to drive around recording things they see, interviewing people, etc. They could even go into shopping centres and record people shopping. Going out to various free events - like steam rallies or even car boot sales, or go down to the local astroturf pitch and ask if they can record someone's game. Or going to riots. Get someone inside the rioting with a camera. That's a days worth of footage and the main news people never risk putting their journalists inside. Recording drunk people outside clubs at night fighting and being nobs would also be amusing. Just record stuff and put it on TV. They could even set stuff up like say they are going to a specific location and saying they will record anything weird and then all the weirdos would turn up to be on TV doing weird stuff.

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Windows

Re: Poor quality content? Big gamble.

" it can help a lot if the presenter is very gifted and can entertain an audience without a script..."

I'm suddenly reminded of Jack Hargreaves on Southern. Those shows must have been made on next to no money but are still compelling in their own way. About as unglamorous as you can get mind.

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Disaster written all over it

Making decent TV is really expensive and lowering the bar to entry guarantees some of the worst TV ever seen. It strikes me that hyper-local TV is about 30 years too late when having a monopoly on distribution guaranteed eyeballs. It strikes me there is really no demand for it - channel M died the death and even local programming on the BBC and ITV has most people looking for the remote so they don't have to sit through tedious crap on local issues so peripheral they're laughable. Does anyone remember L!ve TV? Because that's what we'll be getting. Epic, epic fail.

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Go

Wayne's World

Party Time.

Excellent!

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How long before they start rebroadcasting Youtube?

If they need a source of cheap programme content (and they will, 'cos they won't be in a position to make any themselves - not on their budgets) there's already a thick vein of unspeakable dross ready and waiting. I can see that in the few minutes per hour that is NOT advertising, the lone employee will be tasked with doing searches for "Oxford" or "Southampton" on YT and then plugging whatever comes out into the TV transmitter.

Can't wait.

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Re: How long before they start rebroadcasting Youtube?

See Rude tube, Oops TV etc

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FAIL

I don't want local telly.

It will be rubbish, full of stuff about people I don't give a stuff about doing things I couldn't care less about. For the same reason I don't buy a local paper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't want local telly.

Now that's no way to talk about your constituents, Mr. Cameron.

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Synergy

Presumably proposed copyright changes discussed passim will allow them to take stuff off YouTube with impunity on 'fair use' basis.

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Local TV = bad idea

Other than news bulletins, there isn't really much point in having it.

STV have been trying to pull 'local' on their version of ITV. Generally speaking we don't get most shows that the rest of the UK get.

For example, we miss out on Scott and Baley (a UK based police drama) and instead get Underbelly (an Australian based police drama) instead. Our Sky boxes cannot get an HD version of ITV either.

All under the banner of regional TV.

And what happens if you move? Your favourite local show is no longer available to you. Think how many who have moved abroad to the likes of Spain still watch the popular shows like Eastenders *spit* and most of our popular programs in the UK are American.

Local TV? Rather not bother thanks.

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Facepalm

Presumably they couldn't think of anything else useful to do with white space.

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Here are the Local News Headlines:

Mrs Brown of Boring Road has found her lost cat!

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Equivalent of what will happen

Give me the £5Mil and I'll have a picture of a turd on the screen for x hours a day, IMO would be about the same quality as anything else they'll put on there.

If it's cash up front we can negotiate a discount.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm pretty sure when we had NTL cable back in the day (early through till late ninties) it had a local channel, I remember a lot of static ads for the Galeria and maybe a school play once...

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FAIL

pre youtube and the internet

this might have been a good idea.

post the Internet and Youtube, it is 90s tech (okay over dvb-t) for the 10s and hence it will fail.

conventional broadcasters Beeb, ITV etc will most likely be net only sometime in the next 10 to 20 years.

Local content could quite easily be distributed via youtube, without some government nonce getting in the way , or needing to pay for transmission.

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Hypnotoad

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Anonymous Coward

A real contender

Finally, some serious competition for watching paint dry.

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