Lebedevs in bid to launch TV station for London

Newspaper publishers appear to have largely declined the opportunity to bid for 20 new Local TV broadcasting licences – with the exception of the Lebedev family and Archant.

Some 57 applications have been made for licences to run local TV stations in the first 20 UK towns and cities to form a new Local TV network. Among those the owners of the Evening Standard are bidding to launch a station in London and Archant are behind a bid for the Norwich licence called Mustard.

The Lebedev family are behind London Live, which will be run by a sister company to the London Evening Standard. It proposes to draw on the resources of the Standard to launch a station providing Londoners with news, current affairs, comment, what’s on and community-focused programming.

In London they are up against four other bidders: 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 Government plans to have Local TV stations broadcasting on Freeview by 2014 in Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton and Swansea.

A further 24 areas identified for the next stage of Local TV licences are: Aberdeen, Ayr, Bangor, Barnstaple, Basingstoke, Bedford, Cambridge, Carlisle, Derry/Londonderry, Dundee, Guildford, Hereford, Inverness, Kidderminster, Limavady, Luton, Maidstone, Malvern, Mold, Salisbury, Sheffield, Stoke on Trent, Stratford upon Avon and York.

Local TV is benefiting from comparatively modest public funding, taken from the BBC Licence Fee, of £25m to cover start-up costs and then £5m a year for the first three years.

This compares with the around £50m a year running costs of the ITV regional news network.

Established UK regional newspaper publishers have expressed doubts about whether the new Local TV franchises can ever be run profitably. But although newspaper publishers are not named as primary bidders it may turn out that they form parnerships with broadcasters.

Several smaller towns and cities have just one bidder. In Brighton and Hove Latest TV, run by Bill Smith – publisher of local magazine The Latest – is the only bid tabled. There is also only one bidder for Bristol (Made in Bristol) and Grimsby (Lincolnshire Living).

Among the consortiums bidding for more than one licence are Made Television, which is chaired by TopUp TV founder Ian west.

It has tabled bids to run stations in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle – all carrying the Made In prefix followed by the name of the city.

Chief executive Jamie Conway said: ‘We will produce distinctive bespoke programmes in every city every day, but because our channels are structurally linked, we can share resources, which enable commercial viability. This is not about joining up signals and simulcasting the same content across the country – all of our stations transmit entirely separately from each other. The only commonality between the stations is sharing technology costs and great ideas.

‘This is not another ITV – all of our stations will be locally run with local News Editors and producers and local editorial control.

‘But at the end of the day local television must make financial sense and we have a deliverable business model which will stand the test of time.

‘This is borne out by the fact that we have secured £15 million from investors, including local partners borne out of a strategy by Mediaventura.

‘New technology and low cost bases mean that it is now possible to make quality local television with affordable advertising for local businesses, who simply can’t afford to advertise on regional ITV.”

Full list of stage one Local TV bidders:

Belfast

• Made In Belfast

• NvTv

Birmingham

• Bham TV

• City TV Broadcasting

• Made in Birmingham

• YourTV Birmingham

Brighton & Hove

• Latest TV

Bristol

• Made in Bristol

Cardiff

• Cardiff Local TV

• Made in Cardiff

Edinburgh

• Edinburgh News Network

• ETV

• Made in Edinburgh

• Metro8 Edinburgh

Glasgow

• Glasgow TV

• GTV

• Made in Glasgow

• Metro8Glasgow

Grimsby

• Lincolnshire Living

Leeds

• Leeds TV

• Made in Leeds

• Metro8 Leeds

• NORTH

• YourTV Leeds

Liverpool

• Bay TV Liverpool

• Made in Liverpool

• Metro8 Liverpool

• Our-TV

• YourTV Liverpool

Manchester

• Made in Manchester

• Manchester News Channel

• MCR TV

• Metro8 Manchester

• YourTV Manchester

Newcastle

• Made in Newcastle

• Metro8 Newcastle

• NEON-TV

• YourTV Newcastle

Norwich

• Mustard

• NR One

Nottingham

• Notts TV

• Television Nottingham

Oxford

• Two bids both called Oxford 8

• Thats Oxford

Preston

• Metro8 Preston

• YourTV Blackpool & Preston

Sheffield

• Metro8 Sheffield

• SLTV/Sheffield Live

• YourTV Sheffield

Southampton

• Thats Solent

• TV Solent

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