Local London-based television channel London Live applied for a bid to change its licence which would have seen a cut in its London related programming from 18 to 8 hours a day. Ofcom ruled that this reduction would have 'substantially altered' output and has rejected the bid.
The channel is owned by Evgeny Lebedev, publisher of the evening standard and the Independent, who said the bid to change was not unreasonable.
Tim Kirkman, the London Live chief operating officer, responded to Ofcom’s knock-back by saying: “I am disappointed by this outcome as I believe the changes would have allowed us to produce an even better product for Londoners; we had no plans to reduce the volume of fresh local content or news and current affairs, just the times we broadcast it.
“Not being allowed these changes is not critical, but will continue to challenge us.
“However, the business is continuing to deliver, with nine consecutive weeks of audience growth, and we are now reaching over 10% of Londoners every week, with last week our second-best week so far – only very marginally behind our launch week.”
The decision from the UK regulator and DTG member Ofcom comes after they admitted that it was "very unlikely" that all the local TV stations would succeed, this was only heightened by the administration of Birmingham channel City TV last month.
The proposed changes were opposed by commercial rivals including Channel 4 and Channel 5, who argued it would set an “unwelcome precedent” that would “devalue” public service broadcasting.
Two failed bidders for the capital’s local TV licence – London8 which was headed by ex-Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson, and Channel 6 which was backed by organisations including Trinity Mirror – threatened legal action if Ofcom approved the change.
Kirkman said: “This is not a negative position, for us it is a positive thing. This is a new sector and we need to be able to grow as a business and evolve the business model to make sure we have something that makes sense.”
DTG Staff | 17.09.2014