Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has said a series of individual stations, rather than the proposed ‘national spine’ could make local TV more feasible and faster to deliver.
“The Government is committed to localism – putting power in the hands of citizens and neighbourhoods,” said Hunt. “Local TV will be a key part of that, giving people the local news and content they want and helping local democracy to flourish.”
Although a number of parties had come forward, expressing an interest in running a national network, it is likely there would have been difficulties in enforcing the proposed ‘must-carry’ status. ITV2 already occupies ‘Channel 6’ on the DTT platform and DMOL, the industry body that allocates terrestrial channel numbers, has assigned local TV numbers in the 200s.
The development of individual stations was one of the key issues in the government’s consultation on local TV. 140 responses were received and have now been published by the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
“The consultation showed that there is incredibly strong support for the principle of truly local TV. I have been particularly struck by the large number of local groups – particularly outside of London – who are keen to deliver this for their own communities. I have also met local community groups and media organisations up and down the country and have been impressed at their enthusiasm for delivering their own local TV,” added Hunt. A final decision on the structure of local TV has yet to be taken.