Local TV services to stay on air until 2034 under new Government proposals
Local television services across the country will remain on air until 2034, under new proposals set out by the Government.
All 34 of the UK’s local TV stations will have their licenses renewed, subject to a review of individual future plans.
Plans set out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will allow media regulator Ofcom to review each station’s plans to continue meeting the needs of local audiences.
The current licenses are currently due to expire in 2025.
Launched in 2013, local TV services are accessible to 15 million people and are required to show a number of hours of local programming each day.
“While recognising the challenges they have faced, particularly during the pandemic, the Government believes that local TV services continue to play a role in the wider broadcasting ecosystem,” the DCMS said.
“Many services, such as Notts TV in Nottingham and KMTV in Kent, also boost local journalism through training programmes provided in production, news reporting and technical roles, which enable students to gain hands-on experience.”
While recognising the challenges they have faced, particularly during the pandemic, the government believes that local TV services continue to play a role in the wider broadcasting ecosystem
The DCMS has also published a consultation inviting views on the opportunities and challenges faced in the sector “in recognition” of the struggle faced by the outlets.
The consultation is designed to ensure the sector can “continue to serve audiences and be sustainable in the long term”, the DCMS said.
Media minister John Whittingdale said: “Local TV stations from Belfast to Birmingham help to support local journalism, drive the creative economy and foster pride in communities.
“We want to see this continue, so we’ve set out plans for Ofcom to review all services to ensure they’re well positioned to continue serving local audiences with trusted and distinctive content for years to come.”
Ofcom will review each station’s proposals for the decade ahead to ensure they can maintain their current service and continue making distinctive shows which meet the needs of the local area.
If the plans are approved by the regulator, services will be allowed to continue broadcasting until 2034 and retain several benefits, including a prominent position in electronic TV guides.
Should current providers choose not to renew their licence, or Ofcom decides not to approve a renewal, Ofcom will move to a competitive relicensing process.
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