Ofcom Suspend Licensing Roll-Out For New Local TV Regions
Mike Sanders / 2 years ago
Ofcom Suspend Licensing Roll-Out For 13 UK Regional TV Channels
Back in 2013, after the completion of the Freeview roll-out, Ofcom was keen that there should be more TV channels specifically devoted to regional news. In theory, it wasn’t a bad idea. In practice, however, it has been (overall) nothing short of a disaster. The biggest issue which has faced most of the channels, such as ‘Hello Cardiff’ and ‘Made in Birmingham’, is the fact that they are losing money hand over fist.
As such, Ofcom has decided that plans for future roll-outs in 13 regions within the UK are no longer economically viable for Comux, the company charged to implement and maintain the infrastructure. Put simply, based on the loses the channels are making Ofcom doesn’t believe that Comux should continue to implement systems that are not making money.
How many are there?
In a report via the BBC, there are at present around 30 local TV stations. These, as the name would suggest, are TV stations set to specifically report and allow access to local areas. It is a system similar to that while is operated throughout America.
The lack of advertising revenue though has seen them barely make any money. If any at all. Ofcom has said: “Requiring new infrastructure to be built for additional local TV channels is not, in our current view, economically viable. It could also undermine the many local services already on air.”
The future of local TV
Some might be able to survive. If they’re losing money though, probably not for long. The killer words ‘not economically viable’ have appeared and that often is the death bell for any product, employment or service.
Ofcom has been in touch directly with us regarding this matter. They wish to assure us that they have no plans to scrap any current licenses in place. They have, however, make it clear that no further regional roll-outs will go ahead. At least, for the time being. If the current channels can turn a profit, it’s likely Ofcom may reconsider the decision.
What do you think? Do you watch any of your local channels? Are you disappointed you will not get one in your region? In addition, can you see a format in which these channels could survive? – Let us know in the comments!