London Live backer Evening Standard TV was one of five bidders for the London licence, regarded as the most commercially significant of the new local digital-terrestrial TV licences to be awarded by Ofcom.
The new channel will broadcast for 18 hours a day initially, offering a mix of news, current affairs and entertainment programming.
The Ofcom licence is for a period of 12 years, and the latest award takes to 15 the number of licences awarded to date.
For London Ofcom received applications for channels City6, London 8, Made in London and Your TV London as well as London Live. Having narrowed the field via an initial selection to Evening Standard TV and London 8, backed by groups including ITN, Time Out, Riverside Studios and the Press Association and headed by former Channel 4 chief Luke Johnson.
Having ruled that media plurality would not be an issue in either case, Ofcom decided that “of these two applicants, ESTV demonstrated the greatest understanding of London’s diverse communities by putting forward proposals which would allow representation of those communities whilst not excluding others as a result. ESTV’s proposals covered a significant range of subjects and would therefore meet the needs of local communities to the greatest extent. ESTV’s proposals also provided important opportunities for close local community involvement, taking into account, in particular, its proposals for IPTV services in each London borough which would be included in its programming commitments. ESTV was also in a particularly strong position to launch and maintain its proposed service, given its proposals for promoting and marketing the channel.”
The award is a boost for Alexander and Yevgeny Lebedev, the Russian owners of the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers, and could enable them to take advantage of cross-promotion opportunities between their TV and newspaper interests.