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Local TV in Nottingham: Notts TV starts countdown to April 2013

What’s new for local TV in Nottingham?

Notts TV has been awarded the licence to be the local TV channel in the greater Nottingham urban area by media regulator Ofcom.

In a battle of dull names for a TV station serving the the home of Robin Hood, channel owners Confetti Media beat Television Nottingham in the beauty contest.

They hope to launch on April 1, 2013, if the local TV multiplex operator is also ready to carry their signal, with a limited service from 4pm to midnight daily.

As Notts TV’s programme library expands, Confetti hopes to start broadcasting from 7am in the autumn of 2013.

October 10, 2012 (image shining.darkness/Flickr)

Nottingham crest by shining.darkness/Flickr

Who are Notts TV?

Notts TV will be a local TV channel for the greater Nottingham urban area, providing news and coverage of entertainment, sports, politics, community and business affairs, and recreation.

It’s owned and operated by Confetti Media Group, a family of companies which includes the Antenna creative business hub, the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies for media training, Constellations creative classroom design centre, Denizen – an independent record label, and TV and the film post-production facility, Spool. The Nottingham Post newspaper and Inclusive Digital are also involved in the consortium.

Nottingham Trent University will also provide TV studios, while the station will seek collaborations with DHP Group (providing access to live music events), Left Lion Magazine, Spirit Nottingham (the grouping of city cultural venues, including Broadway Cinema, Theatre Royal, Nottingham Contemporary, Lakeside Arts Centre, Dance 4 and Nottingham Playhouse), and Nottingham’s Children’s Television Workshop.

What will be on Notts TV?

In its winning application to run the Nottingham local TV channel, Notts TV said: “Our vision is to produce quality content that is directly relevant to the people of Nottingham.

“We aim to cover local news, and produce a broad range of general programmes. Notts TV will reflect the fact that Nottingham is a vibrant city, with a busy news agenda, and a rapidly growing creative sector.”

Notts will start out running from 4pm to midnight daily, but hopes to go on air from 7am daily once it had built up a backlog of repeats and increased its output of new TV by autumn 2013.

As the sample schedule shows, the core of Notts TV’s schedule will be three, half-hour news bulletins at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm, with the 7pm bulletin repeated at 10.30pm. There will also be a six-minute headline news/preview sequence at 1pm on weekdays, with 15 minutes at weekends.

Other programmes will be rotated in a dynamic schedule, so that prime time viewers never see the same night of TV.

Headline programmes will include a weekly studio programme, The Nottingham Debate, a weekly arts magazine titled Notts On, with pre-recorded music, festivals theatre and comedy in Notts Events and Notts Shorts, and documentaries from local film-makers under the Notts Docs strand.

Notts Sports will cover local clubs, such as Nottingham Forest and Notts County, non-league soccer, county cricket, Nottingham Rugby Club, and Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team.

Community and voluntary groups will be covered in Notts Community, Notts Politics will look at local political issues, Notts Business will cover business stories and go inside local companies, and a Notts Outdoors series will include sections such as Garden Watch, My Nottingham, Tales from the Riverbank, and Hidden Nottingham.

Notts Talks will feature lectures from Nottingham Trent University, with a Notts Science documentary slot and Notts History making use of archive footage. Every Saturday will also see entertainment show, The Notts Quiz.

Notts TV is also hoping to swap programming with other local TV channels to create a networked show, Around Britain.

Notts TV sample schedule for 2014

Where will Notts TV cover?

A national company will manage the TV transmissions for local TV channels, which will be transmitted on unused ‘interleaved’ frequencies between different parts of the UK.

Notts TV plans to reach Arnold, Beeston, Carlton, Hucknall, Stapleford, West Bridgford and other suburbs, satellite towns and villages that are not formally in the city boundaries, covering around 668,000 residents.

Local geography like trees, hills and tall buildings make it difficult to know precisely where each local TV channel will cover when it launches, but Ofcom has produced maps predicting the coverage (click for the full-size map).

Ofcom coverage map for local TV in Nottingham

When will Local TV be coming to Nottingham?

Notts TV plans to start preparations in January 2013, and hopes to go live on air on April 1, 2013.

What’s Local TV all about?

Local TV is an ongoing project to bring local news, entertainment and services to at least 21 cities in the UK, with the possibility of this expanding to a further 28 areas.

Will I have to retune my Freeview box?

Local TV will be coming to Freeview channel 8 when it launches in Nottingham, but it will be on a new frequency with two other new TV channels, so you will need to retune in order to get them all.

Can I get Local TV on Sky, Virgin Media or Freesat?

There’s still a debate as to where local TV will appear on Sky’s programme guide and how viewers will be able to get it.

Virgin Media is in favour of delivering a local TV through an app on its TiVo boxes, providing access to local TV streams from all over the country.

Sky and Freesat are a challenge for local TV channels, because it will be very expensive and wasteful to purchase satellite capacity for 21 channels. Every local channel will reach the whole country because satellite transmissions can’t be focussed onto small areas, even though they only need to reach a small area.

It’s more likely that the channels will be delivered over broadband using Sky On Demand and the new Free Time from Freesat.

Sky has suggested that local TV channels should be available through the yellow button on its remote control, because it doesn’t want to move Sky Living from number 108 in the Sky Guide. Virgin’s also in favour of using the yellow button instead of ousting the incumbent from channel 8, and although Freesat would have no trouble making channel 8 available, the yellow button could become the default for local TV like the red button has for interactive TV.