Wednesday 14 December, 2011
By Anthony Hill
London, Cardiff and Edinburgh among 20 UK towns and cities leading a local telly revolution.
Plans to create local TV stations across the UK are taking shape.
Britain’s culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has named 20 towns and cities that will lead a new initiative to bring localised television to communities throughout the country.
The list of “pioneer” areas - including Belfast, Brighton, Glasgow, Liverpool and Swansea - has been whittled down from 65 possibilities that submitted applications earlier this year. If all goes to plan, the government hopes to license the first local services from summer 2012.
“I am confident these new stations will provide local communities with programming which is relevant to their daily lives, will support local democracy, boost the big society and enhance local communities,” said Hunt.
“Local TV will be a fundamental change in broadcasting in this country, meeting a real demand for local news and content. We are now putting in place the measures needed to establish a series of commercially viable local TV stations.”
Also among the first 20 areas getting a local TV service are: Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Grimsby, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston and Southampton.
To enhance the local stations, which will be delivered as new Freeview channels, the government is working with digital providers Sky and Virgin Media to develop apps and interactive services that will give the localised services “appropriate prominence” on electronic programme guides when they launch.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will invest £25million in local TV infrastructure, with further costs being covered by the licence fee.
Photo by Mountain/\Ash