london-liveAt just five months old, flagship local TV channel London Live has applied to Ofcom to drastically reduce its commitment to local content.

The company lost editorial director Stefano Hatfield in its first month of broadcast which was then closely followed by Chief Executive Andy Mullins’ departure. The channel has also now seen a series of programmes broadcast to an audience of zero in figures measured by Barb.

Tim Kirkman, Chief Operating Officer has said that bleak assessmets of the channel have been oversimplified and are ‘plain wrong.’ Kirkman says owners Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev remain committed and “have not put timelines on it, but they have been very clear that they don’t set up a business to shut it down. We’ve been going for four months—bits of it are working, bits of it aren’t. My job is to make the bits that aren’t working work.”

One major change which is taking place to little support is the re-positioning of the channel to the 25 to 44 year old core readership of its sibling, the London Evening Standard. “We started younger, and I think we were wrong to do that,” Kirkman concedes. “We tried to activate a young audience with a relatively old asset in the Evening Standard—we’ve moved away from that and they’re becoming much more in line.”

But the prospect of becoming more niche and taking more risks is not likely to chime with the Lebedevs, who reported losses of £1.25 million for the first 13 months leading up to London Live’s launch on 31 March.

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By Expat