Channel distributor Canis Media has become the first company to express interest in bidding for the local TV MuxCo licence to be offered by regulator Ofcom.
Canis has created a new company, Comux UK, to apply for the licence, which will be granted to the operator of transmission infrastructure for new local services.
Potential local TV operators will apply for individual broadcasting licences over the next few months, and the transmission infrastructure licence will be awarded simultaneously. According to Canis Media, Comux UK will be structured to ensure that the maximum possible return on the value of the gifted capacity is invested in local TV programming.
Canis Media’s head of local TV, Clare Bramley, will chair a new representative council of local TV licence bidders, which will enable a dialogue between the potential multiplex operator and the bidders. She will also oversee the creation of a charitable trust into which a proportion of the profits from Comux UK will be paid, ensuring that the full value of the licensed capacity helps to guarantee the long term sustainability of local television stations, according to Canis Media.
Comux UK also plans to operate a national commercial model for advertising which will be available to local stations on an opt in/opt out basis.
Canis Media CEO Ed Hall will lead the bid. The new company was created following publication last week of the BBC’s local digital TV funding contribution arrangements. Under the public broadcaster’s licence fee agreement with the government it is responsible for part-funding the development of local TV services.