The DCMS report into the potential for local TV in the UK has concluded that local TV will not be viable if distributed by DTT to sparsely populated areas. Instead, Nicholas Shott has concluded that it may be possible to sustain 10 to 12 local TV services around major conurbations.
The final report suggests that locations should be based on robust and sustainable business plans, submitted by potential operators as part of a licensing process. It says that a presence on cable and satellite platforms is not essential for success – even though only 39% of households utilise DTT technology on their primary sets.
IPTV, in this context through YouView, and the delivery of super fast broadband across the UK by 2015 are seen as the most favourable delivery mechanisms.
Advertising could come from local media and enterprise, though Schott acknowledges the £25 million cost base for a network of ten stations would not be met be advertising alone leading to a funding gap of some £10 million.
Licensing would see a return to the beauty contest principal, Shott emphasising that a sound business plan is preferable over an auction process.