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NEWS MOVE & DELIVER
T he latest incarnation of Local TV in the UK is going through some serious teething problems
right now. With a Freeview slot and public funding, it was hailed as a more robust model than
previous efforts. But, despite some channels getting to air, and successfully staying there,
problems are occurring.
The company that was awarded the license to broadcast in Birmingham, BLTV, called in
administrators in the summer. As KitPlus went to press, Ofcom was revising the deadline again for a
channel launch in England’s second city as it reviewed the credentials of other bidders.
This follows the revelation that London Live has been permitted to reduce the amount of local content
it offers. Although it wasn’t the major reduction that owners ESTV originally wanted, a proposal that
was thrown out by Ofcom, it has been able to cutback the number of repeats that it shows.
Local TV promised much, not just for the population of Britain’s cities, but also to kit suppliers who
had a new potential revenue stream. As such, these changes and problems have not been terribly well
received. “The news that London Live has successfully negotiated a reduction in the amount of local content it
will have to show on air, albeit on its second attempt, will not have come as a great surprise to many,“
says Mark Errington, chief executive at BroadStream. “However, surely this was precisely the type of
content that London Live and the other local TV channels have been launched to air. In fact, research
we commissioned earlier this year points to local content being the key to success for these new local
TV channels, with 70% of potential viewers most interested in watching local news programmes, over
half (52%) wanting to watch documentaries about their local areas and almost a third (30%) keen to
catch-up on their local sports teams.“
It is possible to make stats say anything of course but must surely be some substance to this. Local
content is the key differentiator for Local TV, obviously. If that isn’t possible to achieve, then what is the
point? It’s a gloomy situation right now for something that looked so promising. Let’s keep our fingers
crossed that these are just teething problems and not something more serious.
Encoding Thomson Video Networks’ ViBE VS7000 multi-screen encoding and transcoding system has been qualified on
Akamai Technologies’ cloud-based Intelligent Platform. Eric Gallier, vice president of marketing, Thomson Video
Networks said: “With a growing need to deliver high-quality content in multiple formats to platforms ranging from PCs
to tablets to smartphones, today’s media enterprises need cutting-edge encoding and secure, reliable distribution
capabilities. The global presence of both Akamai and Thomson Video Networks will ensure that our joint customers
can achieve peak performance and video quality for the OTT services of today and tomorrow.“
www.thomson-networks.com 32 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 95 NOVEMBER 2014