Local TV in the UK came one step closer to being a reality today.
Culture Secretary has said that a series of individual stations could be more feasible and faster to deliver.
The announcement came as DCMS today published a summary of the 140 responses to its consultation on local TV. One of the key issues in the consultation was the model for delivery - a national ‘spine’ or individually licensed stations. In parallel with the consultation, ministers have also been considering issues on technical capacity, implementation, costs and the overall timetable.
As a result of this consideration and the consultation responses, the Culture Secretary is now looking at whether a ‘bottom up’ approach of individual licensed stations rather than prescribing a centralised ‘top-down’ approach is the right model - although he has not yet taken a final decision. Within the right regulatory framework, a series of individual stations could be more financially secure without reliance on a dominant network centre, and could be implemented much faster through secondary legislation.
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said: “The Government is committed to localism - putting power in the hands of citizens and neighbourhoods. Local TV will be a key part of that, giving people the local news and content they want and helping local democracy to flourish.
“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 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 local TV.
“While I have not yet taken a final decision, it may be that a series of individual stations is the best way to deliver local TV.”
There are a number of issues still to be resolved (for example, around technical capacity, electronic programme guide prominence and licensing), and work on this continues apace. The Secretary of State intends to set out final proposals by the end of July.
Notes to editors
The consultation was published on 19 January 2011, details available on the DCMS website.
The BBC licence fee settlement, agreed earlier this year, included funding of £40 million to fund the development of local TV.
Press Enquiries: 020 7211 2210
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153
Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6000