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Hunt moves to bottom up approach for UK local TV

UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has given his strongest indication yet that he has abandoned earlier plans to support the development of local TV via a ‘national spine’ in the form of a dedicated frequency on the Freeview platform.

Hunt said that he now preferred a “bottom up” approach to local TV licensing, with individual licences being granted to channel operators. He said this could be “more feasible and faster to deliver” than the proposed national network.

Hunt’s statement follows publication of responses to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s consultation on the project. About a third of respondents favoured some form of national network channel, while the remaining two thirds were broadly against, with a number of respondents doubting that a national channel could realistically achieve the targeted £15 million (€17 million) a year in advertising revenues. 

The DCMS plans to publish a policy statement in July that will set out expected timescales for the project and the processes involved. 

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