IPTV by Niall Duffy Why Centralised system can allow for localised content Many discussions in the UK are focussed on how local TV can be delivered through the existing digital terrestrial television (DTT) network and expanding the spectrum. However, recent comments from the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt suggesting that a series of individual stations, as opposed to a national network, are encouraging. While DTT networks can provide regional coverage, they cannot go into the granular detail required for a truly local service. Therefore, the challenge is finding a way to effectively deliver local TV into UK-wide homes and here, the broadcast industry would do well to look at existing examples of local TV delivery elsewhere in the world. For example, the deployment of local TV services by TV4 in Sweden, shows how a transmitter-based infrastructure can help to allow the distribution of meaningful local news as well as advertising. While there are similarities between the UK and Swedish infrastructures, there are also marked differences, as the UK's existing DTT infrastructure is regional which means we do experience tailored services. ITV is a good case in point, as it transmits a different set of adverts depending on where you are in the country. However, it doesn't transmit a different set of adverts to people on a local level, so people living in North and South London would receive the same ads. This is the crux of the problem with DTT, which lacks the flexibility to offer truly local coverage and investment would be more effectively made in building a better IP infrastructure. The successful rollout of local TV will hinge on a nationwide IPTV offering, which supports the local services providing the content. IPTV, unlike DTT, can reach a much more targeted audience with news, weather and sports that is meaningful to the target audience. Whether transmitted through services such as YouView, connected TVs or dedicated apps for mobile and tablet devices, the trick to successful deployment of IPTV is ensuring there is a central tool to help facilitate local delivery. In addition, if each local outlet is set up as an independent unit then costs will be duplicated and local advertising won't be able to support the operations. Therefore, it is also important to have as much of the infrastructure and administration shared or even centralised so that economies of scale can be successfully achieved. is essential to the effective delivery of local TV services T he broadcast industry has already evolved dramatically in recent years with the increasing dominance of the internet. In the beginning, the internet was largely focused on the potential global audience and having global reach to enjoying global revenue. However, consumer use of the internet has already started to mature and it has become increasingly clear that while people enjoy how the worldwide web makes the globe a much smaller place, they also want to be targeted with the right localised content as well. There has been a marked increase in the public discussion about local TV, with government announcing a new generation of local TV services in recent months. This trend is set to have a significant impact on the TV landscape, with the current proliferation of channels resulting in customers becoming increasingly disconnected from the programmes they are offered, because they are simply not relevant. Regional TV in its current form is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the audience it serves and is a poor substitute for truly local content. Previously the regional TV advertising model made better economic sense, with a larger pool of consumers meaning a greater number of viewers, leading to bigger potential advertising revenues. However, regional TV simply does not equate to longterm survival in today's world of the individual. While cutting local news for its broader regional equivalent may mean lower costs, it also means fewer people are truly engaged with the content that is being offered to them. This only serves to lower viewing figures further, meaning that advertising revenues shrink and more cuts are required. This creates a continuous cycle of depleted viewers being offered increasingly regionalised, rather than localised, content until they are forced to switch off all together. 42 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE