Hunt to ease cross media ownership rules for local TV

UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced plans for cities across Britain to have their own TV stations.

The announcement puts an end to the previous government’s plans to replace regional ITV news with services provided by independently funded news consortia. The government will lift rules that currently restrict cross-media ownership.

Hunt said Britain could look at the US for inspiration as to how local TV can thrive and has appointed Nick Shott of investment bank Lazard’s to undertake a review of the enabling policy options for local TV. United for Local Television, a coalition of commercial and not-for-profit groups and campaigners, welcomed the news. “ULTV has been calling for a review of this nature for many years and we are delighted it is now happening. We have always said there are viable business models for local TV but there needs to be a will from government to explore the policy options including issues such as access to spectrum and EPG priority. We look forward to contributing to the review and will do all we can to help ensure a strong and successful local and community TV network emerges,” it said.

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