Comux announces the launch of ‘Local TV’
Another step towards the launch of local TV services in the UK
Edinburgh, UK: 22 August 2013 – Comux UK, the community-owned business selected by Ofcom to build and operate the local television broadcasting platform, today announced details of ‘Local TV’, the brand that will be the public face of the UK’s local television service.
Local TV will be responsible for maximising awareness and providing information about local television stations and programming through the website www.getcloser.tv
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), said: “This agreement marks a key stage in the development of local TV and we will soon see the first station begin broadcasting. The first station to hit the airwaves will launch an entirely new media industry in the UK. These stations are creating new jobs in our communications and creative industries, and providing people with a fresh way to be informed about their local communities.”
The Local TV brand was officially launched at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF) today, where conference attendees were able to talk to some of the local licence holders who will be delivering the service initially to 19 major cities and towns, starting with Grimsby in November and rolling out over the following months.
Ed Hall, Chief Executive at Comux, said: “Recently we announced contracts with all of our infrastructure partners and suppliers. We can now deliver the complete technical framework we promised to Ofcom and the 19 local licensees due to start broadcasting from this November. Today’s launch of the public-facing Local TV brand means that we can now start promoting the service to the public and ensure that it receives the audience it deserves.”
Local TV and the local television service is a government initiative that has been executed by Ofcom with oversight from the BBC Trust. The BBC Trust agreed with the Government as part of the BBC’s licence fee settlement in 2010 to make up to £40m available to help establish local television until March 2017. These funds include up to £25m for the establishment of the local television infrastructure, administered by the BBC Trust, and up to £15m (up to £5m per year from 2014/15) for the acquisition of Local TV content, managed by the BBC Executive.
The BBC Trust is working closely with the DCMS and Ofcom on this project while ensuring that the Trust retains proper and appropriate oversight of licence fee payers’ money.
Lia Nici, Executive Producer, Channel 7 Grimsby, said: “The opportunity to launch our service on Freeview represents a major advance for us and will bring us to a far bigger audience. This has been made possible by the shared infrastructure that Comux UK has put in place which allows us to focus our investments and efforts on programme making. We’re, therefore, very pleased that we will be the first station to broadcast on the new service this November.”
Ed Hall concluded: “Local TV will become a familiar brand over the next year or two, and we fully expect that the local television service will attract a significant audience in the areas that it is available. Ofcom is currently seeking expressions of interest in a second phase of local stations across another 30 locations, and we are looking forward to the launch of the first station this autumn.”
D UK has allocated prominent channel numbers for local television; channel 8 on the Freeview TV guide in England and Northern Ireland, and provisionally channel 34 in Wales and Scotland. Originally conceived by former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, the local television initiative aims to create a vibrant network of stations that can serve local communities, and improve local democracy. Alongside broadcasting on digital terrestrial TV, some of the local channels are planning carriage on satellite and cable TV, and online.
Comux UK is owned in equal measure by the local television licensees.
Comux UK was created by chief executive Ed Hall to meet the demand from potential local TV operators for an equitable, efficient and co-operative approach to providing a cost-effective distribution infrastructure for local TV in the UK.
In 2013 Comux was awarded the licence to build, operate and manage the UK’s local TV infrastructure by communications regulator Ofcom. The team behind Comux has previously worked with most of the UK’s local broadcasters providing physical and commercial services. The team has unique experience in assisting smaller channel operators to create realistic business plans.