Without even having the chance to broadcast any programming, City TV, the local TV channel for Birmingham, has had to go into administration. One of a number of channels around the UK to be awarded a licence to provide local-centric digital TV programmes, the channel, also known as BLTV would have served 1.2 million households in the Birmingham area.
BLTV had until November to start broadcasting but weren't able to secure sufficient finance so had no access to studio premises or the appropriate equipment.
Matt Ingram, joint administrator, said: "BLTV was awarded the licence for Birmingham local television following a lengthy competitive process, overseen by Ofcom.
"Unfortunately, it would appear that despite having demonstrated a comprehensive programming proposal, the company was unable to secure the necessary funding to get the project off the ground, having been awarded the licence."
Ingram also said that they are aware of "considerable interest from a number of local television operators in continuing with the Birmingham area opportunity and we are already engaging with them, and Ofcom, to secure a successful transfer of the licence."
Unsuccessful bidders of the original licence which was awarded to City TV almost two years ago have said that should a new buyer for the licence come forward, they will struggle to launch a service by the original date.
YourTV currently holds the licences for Manchester and Blackpool/Preston and was one of the unsuccessful bidders for the Birmingham TV licence.
“Trying to launch something between now and November is impossible for any sort of quality product,” said Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of YourTV. “Lets not kid ourselves. There isn’t some sort of quick fix here. No takers can achieve that time scale.”
The original date set for any company to commence broadcast was November 3rd, but until a new buyer has been found, it remains unclear how this time constraint will be resolved.
An Ofcom spokesman said: “Ofcom awarded the local TV licence for Birmingham to BLTV in November 2012. Following the announcement that the company has gone into administration, Ofcom has spoken to the administrator and explained that Ofcom’s consent is required for any licence transfer.”
DTG Staff | 13.08.2014