London Live bid to slash local programming rejected as Ofcom says 16 local TV stations will be on air by February 2015

Ofcom has rejected a bid from London Live to slash the amount of local programming broadcast per day from 18 to eight hours.

It has also issued a progress report on local TV noting that six stations are now on air, with another ten expected to launch before February 2015.

The Birmingham local TV station has gone into administration, but Ofcom said the administrator is looking to transfer the licence to another bidder.

London was the most hotly-contested local TV area and the winning bid from the publishers of the Evening Standard saw off competition from four other bidders in January 2013.

Since launching in April London Live has struggled to attract an audience.

According to the latest figures from BARB, London Live has an average daily reach of 182,000 with viewers tuning for an average of one minute each.

Ofcom said that the variation of the London Live licence would have reduced the amount of local programming per day broadcast in peak time from 18 to eight hours.

It also sought to backtrack on its commitment to provide hyper-local programming across the 33 London boroughs, saying that such programming would only appear "where available".

Ofcom said in a report: "The BLC [Broadcast Licensing Committee] considered that the changes, taken as a whole, would result in an unacceptable reduction to the number and range of programmes about the area or locality for the licensed area.

"In particular, the BLC was concerned that the proposal to include the wording 'where available'…would remove the obligation to include hyper-local programming delivered through digital platforms in each of the London boroughs.

"This had been a particularly important factor in the award of the Licence to ESTV."

Ofcom noted this week that six local TV stations are now live:

  • Grimsby (broadcasting from November 2013)
  • Mustard TV, Norwich (broadcasting from March 2014)
  • London Live, London (broadcasting from March 2014)
  • Notts TV, Nottingham (broadcasting from May 2014)
  • STV Glasgow, Glasgow (broadcasting from June 2014)
  • Latest TV, Brighton & Hove (broadcasting from August 2014)

 

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