GMG pulls the plug on Channel M - Govt Local TV plans would not deliver 'quality service'

GMG’s costly experiment at launching a city-wide TV station – Channel M – has been shut down, two years after it was mothballed and maintained with a skeleton staff.

The final closure of the station had been delayed pending further details about the Government’s plans for Local TV.

Chief executive of GMG Radio Stuart Taylor, who has been overseeing Channel M, said: “We’ve been in a holding pattern with Channel M for two years awaiting the outcome of the Government’s future plans for local TV.

“Sadly, we don’t feel they provide us with the framework needed to grow Channel M into a profitable business that delivers the quality service viewers and advertisers expect from GMG.

“I want to thank Channel M controller John Furlong and his team for all they have done through this difficult period.”

Channel M started life in 2000 and grew to have a turnover of  £4.3m at its peak, when it was part of a state of the art integrated newsroom with the Manchester Evening News. But it never made a profit and when GMG sold the Manchester Evening News to Trinity Mirror for £7.4m in 2010 it was mothballed with the loss of 30 staff.

It is not surprising that Channel M bosses can’t see a way of making Government Local TV plans work. The £5m annual Government subsidy offered to 20 Local TV stations is believed to be equivalent to the entire running cost of Channel M at its peak.


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