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London Live forced to stick to local programming, Ofcom predicts more woes

Ofcom has told London Live it must stick to local programming to stay within its licence terms. 

The local station appealed to the regulator in the hope it would be allowed to show more repeats of London-centric shows like Peep Show, Black Books and Smack the Pony

At the same time, telecoms regulator Ofcom released its progress update which painted a gloomy picture for the future of Local TV in general, saying that some ventures will inevitably fail.  

London Live had been told it needs to show more local TV programmes
London Live had been told it needs to show more local TV programmes

Ofcom said: “The nature of awarding licences for a new type of service in a competitive media market means that it is very unlikely that all channels will succeed. This is an inherent feature of the nature of awarding a large number of licences for a new service across very different parts of the UK.” 

This echoes comments made by Local TV’s chief architect, former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt in July. The now-health secretary said in July: “There will be some [Local TV channels] that go bust; that is the nature of things.”

Local TV has been a bit of a washout since it the first channel, Estuary TV in Grimsby, launched in November 2013.

Last month, Birmingham’s City TV went into administration because it didn’t have enough money to buy the equipment to create quality broadcasts. Ofcom said the administrator is looking to transfer the licence to another party, but this would need the approval of the regulator, which would start the bidding process again.

London Live has consistently struggled to draw large numbers of viewer since launch, perhaps due to its original programming being sandwiched between repeats of shows that you could easily get on 4oD All4

Ofcom has awarded 30 local TV licences to towns and cities around the UK in Basingstoke, Belfast, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Guildford, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Maidstone, Middlesborough, Mold, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Preston, Reading, Salisbury, Scarborough, Sheffield, Southampton, Swansea and York. 

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