Additional revenues will need to be sought to ensure the viability of the government’s local television project, according to the man heading the DCMS Steering Group.
In a letter to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt, Nicholas Shott says the structural decline in national and regional advertising attributed to the number of national chains populating Britain’s High Streets and the influence of the internet, means funding from advertising will be challenging.
Shott suggests collective sponsorship from a large national organization wanting to be seen as a part of the local community might be an option, pointing to the recently launch of the London bike scheme, which has been sponsored by Barclays Bank.
Although news is seen as the mainstay of local broadcasting, Shott says it would be difficult to sustain audiences for long periods. He says it is better to think of local TV channels rather than local TV services.
A report on the technical options for local TV was last week published by Ofcom.
Despite the failure of previous attempts to establish local TV services, Hunt seems determined to ‘decentralise’ local media. In a speech to the Royal Television Society in London, Hunt outlined plans for an affiliate model of channels that would broadcast for as little as one hour a day, taking advantage of technologies such as those brought by YouView (Project Canvas), and, curiously, mobile TV.