Ofcom has awarded local TV licences in Guildford, Reading and Salisbury to the That’s TV network.
The broadcasting regulator has now awarded 28 local TV licences across the UK. Four have so far launched: London Live, Estuary TV in Grimsby, Mustard TV in Norwich, and Nottingham’s Notts TV.
Last week, former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who championed the Government’s local TV policy, criticised the Westminster media for its coverage of the launching stations, including Lebedev-owned London Live.
The Financial Times reported him as saying: “All these local TV stations will be a success… There will be some that go bust, that is the nature of things.”
Mustard TV today released figures showing that an estimated 20 per cent of adults in its broadcast patch had watched the channel over a four-week period. The Archant-owned channel claimed that its reach could be 96,000 adults, according to its research.
The three new licences, issued today, mean there will be new channels called That’s Surrey (for Guildford), That’s Reading and That’s Salisbury.That's TV also has licences in Oxford and Southampton.
Ofcom estimates that the licences could reach around 170,000 homes in Reading, 54,000 in Guildford and 30,000 in Salisbury.
In its application, That’s TV said there were “few areas of the UK that need local TV more than Guildford/Woking – an area outside the M25 which currently receives a daily diet of news about London and its borough”.
That’s Surrey, it said, will work with partners at Trinity Mirror, Eagle Radio and Woking News and Mail. It is also planning to launch a journalism degree with the University of Surrey.
That’s Surrey is also planning on training more than 100 community reporters and producers, “enabling viewers to supply video from their mobiles straight to our newsroom” using a free That’s News app.
That’s Reading is also planning on launching a journalism course with Reading College. It will also work with Trinity Mirror’s Reading Post and Reading Broadcasting.
In its application, That’s Reading said: “Reading is a virtual ‘no mans land’ falling between the BBC/ITV regional news centres based in London and Southampton.”
In its application, That’s Salisbury said: “The city receives virtually no news, because it is regarded as too small and on the extreme western fringe of their transmission areas. Therefore all our programming will broaden the number and range of TV programmes available for viewing, and all of our local hours will increase the range of programmes made in or about the area.”