Evening Standard to get TV station after Lebedevs win London local TV licence

The Evening Standard is to have its own TV station following news that the Lebedevs have won the Local TV licence for London.

The London licence was the most hotly contested of all the 21 city-wide TV licences to be awarded by Ofcom as part of the local TV project. So far 15 licences have been awarded around the country.

The Lebedev-backed London Live bid (ESTV Ltd) has seen off competition from London8, LondonTV (backed by the Channel 6 Consortium), Made in London (part of the Made Television group) and YourTV London (which is led by former Conservative MP and candidate for London mayor Steven Norris).

The new station will draw on the editorial resources of the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers.

Outlining the reasons for awarding the licence to ESTV, Ofcom said: “ESTV demonstrated the greatest understanding of London’s diverse communities by putting forward proposals which would allow representation of those communities whilst not excluding others as a result.  ESTV’s proposals covered a significant range of subjects and would therefore meet the needs of local communities to the greatest extent. 

"ESTV’s proposals also provided important opportunities for close local community involvement, taking into account, in particular, its proposals for IPTV services in each London borough which would be included in its programming commitments.  ESTV was also in a particularly strong position to launch and maintain its proposed service, given its proposals for promoting and marketing the channel."

Last year the Evening Standard revealed that it went to profit for the first time under the Lebedevs, who bought a 75 per cent stake in the paper from Daily Mail and General Trust in 2009.

Managing director Andrew Mullins told Press Gazette that he believed the paper’s best chance of improving profitability in the future lay in winning the local TV licence for London.

The last UK regional daily to have its own TV station was the Manchester Evening News.  Channel M was mothballed in 2010 and later closed completely after failing to make a profit.

In its application for the London local TV licence ESTV said: "With the financial backing of the Lebedevs and editorial and commercial resources of The London Evening Standard (and the Independent), [ESTV] will have the ability to rapidly develop a news and current affairs-led local London television service, delivering 100 per cent London content, which will engage and interact with London’s diverse audiences."

London Live plans to be broadcasting on Freeview channel six by September 2013.

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