Edinburgh is to be one of the first cities in the UK to broadcast a new local TV channel., Monday May 28 2012
Edinburgh is to be one of the first
cities in the UK to broadcast a new local TV channel. Ofcom spokesman Giles Mason explains
Why are these new local channels being
The government has decided to set up a new sector of local TV,
and this is the first stage of that. The aim outlined by the
for Culture Media and Sport is to promote local democracy and
get good localised content on television. Ofcom was given new
duties by Parliament at the start of the year to licence these new
local TV channels. This involves inviting bids to run the multiplex
(this is the infrastructure used to broadcast the channels). We're
also inviting bids from organisations to run the licences.
Why has Edinburgh been identified as one of the
We consulted on this at the start of the year and drew up a list
of qualifying criteria. This considered a range of factors
including technical feasibility in terms of infrastructure,
population size and potential level of interest. From that we
identified an initial stage of 21 towns and cities across the UK,
What will this mean for local TV viewers?
The duties Parliament has given us are to licence the channels
on digital terrestrial TV, so this is essentially Freeview. It will
mean extra channels for viewers in each area. The people that run
the electronic programme guide for Freeview say the new local
channel is probably going to be on position 8, so viewers in these
cities, Edinburgh included, will have a new local channel with
local content there. We're not being too prescriptive about what
sort of content we'd expect to see, although we've highlighted the
importance of local news. We wouldn't consider one hour of
news a day to be burdensome for each channel. Over and above that,
it's really a decision for the individual channels.
What interest are you receiving so far for the Edinburgh
franchise and what happens next?
We can't mention specific names, but have had potential interest
from people keen to set up stations in each of these 21 areas.
Something like 87 organisations have said they'd be interested in
setting up one of these channels. The closing date for applications
is 13 August. We'd then expect to start making decisions in the
autumn, with the first channels probably coming on air from next