By Michael Northcott Monday, 04 February 2013

More regional news on the menu with Evening Standard TV

Ofcom has announced that London is soon to have a dedicated digital TV channel, targeting four million homes in the capital.

We’re not quite sure who’s asked for yet more mundane regional news programmes on TV, but Ofcom has revealed that the Evening Standard will run a new TV channel called London Live. The channel will be owned by Evgeny Lebedev, who also owns the ES newspaper, The Independent and the i newspaper. 

In a statement, Ofcom said: ‘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.’ Ofcom also added that ESTV was in a ‘particularly strong position to launch and maintain its proposed service, given its proposals for promoting and marketing the channel.’ Presumably that means whacking a load of full-page ads in the Evening Standard.

So what is all this new ‘local TV’ stuff about? Well in May last year, Ofcom invited applications from media companies to run local TV services in 21 different regions. It has reserved a portion of the new digital radio spectrum for local TV, which it is thought will serve communities better than simply allowing large companies to run national services. The regulator had five applications for the London deal, and it is thought that the channel will eventually have a cable and online offering, too.

A few of the new regional TV channels could begin broadcasting as early as the end of 2013, with Made In Cardiff, Mustard (Norwich), That’s Oxford and Notts TV gearing up for launches at some point in the next 12 months.

It's worth noting that the funding the channels get is coming from a pool of £35m that the BBC has been 'volunteered' into providing to get the ball rolling. 

It will be interesting to see how local TV from Lebedev will be any better than, for example, BBC London. No doubt his studio-fighting, ex-secret-service operating, brothel-frequenting shenanigans will add some colour to the London television scene…

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