Ofcom rejects London Live changes

london-liveUK regulator Ofcom has rejected local TV channel London Live’s bid to cut its homegrown output on the grounds that the changes proposed by the broadcaster would “substantially alter” its output.

London Live, owned by London Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev, had bid to reduce its local programming hours from 18 a day to eight, and three hours to one hour in peak time.

The news came after an update by Ofcom on the progress of the six local TV licensees with channels on air, following the initiative by former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to launch local services. The regulator admitted that “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” and said this was “an inherent feature of the nature of awarding a large number of licences for a new service across very different parts of the UK”.

Ofcom said that the administrator of the defunct Birmingham licence holder was looking to transfer the licence to another provider, which will require Ofcom’s consent. Failing that, Ofcom said it would re-advertise the licence.

Ofcom reported that the six local TV channels – Grimsby’s Estuary TV, Norwich’s Mustard TV, London Live, Nottingham’s Notts TV, STV Glasgow and Brighton and Hove’s Latest TV – had broadcast 6,400 hours of local programming to a potential audience of six million people. Ten additional channels are expected to launch by February and a second phase of licensing is underway.