Ofcom says its unlikely to advertise further local TV licences, potentially spelling an end to the UK’s latest experiment in local broadcasting.
In a statement, the regulator said there were 13 locations that were were intended to be part of the phased roll-out of local TV, where for various reasons no licences had been awarded.
“We consider that to continue to require the extension of local TV to these areas would be likely to have an adverse impact on the economic sustainability of the sector as a whole.”
Launching a consultation, Ofcom said it would release transmission company Comux from its current obligation to build the transmitter infrastructure to support the new service areas.
Of the 13 areas; Bangor, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Stratford Upon Avon, Barnstaple, Limavady, Derry- Londonderry, Inverness, Luton (Bedford+Luton), Plymouth, Stoke on Trent, Gloucester (Gloucester + Malvern + Hereford) and Forth Valley only Luton, Plymouth, Stoke on Trent, Gloucester and Forth Valley only Luton, Plymouth, Stoke on Trent, Gloucester and Forth Valley are considered to be economoically viasble. However, the economics fail once the transmitter build out is added to the eqution.
Local TV was the brainchild of former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt. The first stations were licensed by Ofcom in 2013, and there are now local TV services licensed to broadcast in 34 different locations across the UK.
However, a number of services have both changed hands and requested varuations in their licences to reduce the amount of local content broadcast.