Local TV operators have reacted angrily to where they are to be positioned on the Virgin TV programme guide – behind Horror Channel and CBS Reality.
Virgin Media currently positions Local TV channels at channel 159. Sky has agreed to place Local TV at channel 117.
On Freeview and YouView in England and Wales, Local TV channels will sit at channel 8. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the local channels will be available on channel 26.
Ofcom is currently looking at whether or not Virgin Media will have to give local channels a more prominent spot. A story in Broadcast suggests that the investigation was prompted by London Live, the Evening Standard-owned TV show that will launch next month.
Unnamed sources argue that Local TV channels will be of sufficient quality to warrant being bumped up the programme guide which will have a dramatic effect on ratings.
London Live’s chief operating officer Tim Kirkman is quoted saying having a good spot on the Virgin programme guide is like having a shop between Selfridges and Harrods. The current position is apparently making it hard for some Local TV operators to provide accurate viewing forecasts.
A Virgin Media spokesperson told Recombu that it’s working with Ofcom to see where Local TV channels could sit in the programme guide in the future.
Estuary TV, the first Local TV channel to launch in the UK, debuted at a much lower number on the programme guide – 879. It is currently unknown if Estuary TV would be moved higher up as the result of any regulatory action.