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Local TV in Sheffield: SLTV to go live in one year

What’s new for local TV in Sheffield? 

Sheffield by lizjones112/FlickrSheffield Live TV has faced off its rivals to become the local TV broadcaster for Sheffield from next year.

Beating Metro8 Sheffield and YourTV Sheffield, it aims to provide local news and information, cultural programming, a platform for independent and community producers and opportunities for local business and public sector organisations.

SLTV has earmarked October 1, 2013, for launch, but could go on-air as early as July.

Steve Buckley, chair of SLTV, said: “We are delighted to hear that SLTV has won the local TV licence for Sheffield.

“We extend a huge thanks to all our supporters who have backed the SLTV bid and contribute to its development.

“SLTV will be an open, diverse and inclusive channel, locally owned and not run for profit.”

October 10, 2012

Who are Sheffield Live TV?

SLTV is owned by Sheffield Local TV, which represents a consortium of Sheffield-based organisations launched in 2011.

It’s led by Community Media Solutions (CMS), a Sheffield-based media development agency, and Cultural Industries Quarter Agency (CIQA), an urban regeneration and economic development agency with a focus on Sheffield’s creative and digital industries.

Participants include Sheffield Live, Kinematic Media, South Yorkshire Film-makers Network, Sheffield Independent Film Training (SHIFT), Visualis, Sero Consulting, Sheffield Media and Exhibition Centre, Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival, Tramlines Festival, Studio of the North, Sheffield University, Sheffield Hallam University and The Sheffield College.

What will be on SLTV?

The Sheffield Evening News programme is at the heart of SLTV’s prime-time schedule, although the channel plans to be on-air 24-hours a day from the start.

Five-minute news bulletins will run at least six times per day from 7am, and after the first two year, SLTV could introduce an extra 15-minute news programme at 9pm or 10pm.

Following the Sheffield Evening News programme, SLTV will carry an hour of live studio-based current affairs discussion on weekdays. These will be presenter-led with studio guests, but will vary from day-today, miixing phone-ins or a studio audience, and including culture, politics, sport and community.

Mid-evening programming from 8pm to 10pm will mix of live and pre-recorded formats with archive material covering music, lifestyle, local talent, arts, outdoors. SLTV promises to cover all of Sheffield’s major events such as the Tramlines music festival, Cliffhanger and the British Bouldering Championships, Doc/Fest – the UK’s leading documentary film festival, the Off the Shelf international festival of readings, debates, workshops, poetry and storytelling, and MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival.

Late-evening TV from 10pm to midnight will include music, film reviews, archive and documentaries, as well as targeting niche audiences and minority interests.

At least 4 hours per day will be original local production, but SLTV will broadcast some non-local material outside of peak times, including material from other local TV channels and independent producers from the UK and overseas.

Up to 20 per cent of locally-produced programme material will include languages other than English, with two hours per week of programming in Urdu, one hour in Punjabi, one hour in Spanish, and one or two hours per week in other non-English languages (such as French, Arabic, Somali, Chinese or Polish).

The sample schedule below gives a window into SLTV’s plans.

Sheffield Live TV/SLTV sample schedule

Where will SLTV 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.

SLTV will broadcast from the Tapton Hill relay at lower power than regular Freeview transmissions, and is expected to have a similar footprint to Freeview broadcasts before Digital Switchover.

Ofcom’s predicted coverage maps give an indication of where the Sheffield signal will cover (click for a full-size image).

Ofcom predicted local TV coverage in Sheffield

When will Local TV be coming to Sheffield?

Depending on the launch of the local TV multiplex, SLTV could go live as early as July 2013, but is targeting October 1, 2013, to launch on Freeview.

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 Sheffield, 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. 

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