london-liveUK broadcast regulator Ofcom has decided not to allow ESTV – the provider of the London local television service London Live – to vary its programming commitments.

ESTV submitted a request to Ofcom in July 2014 requesting changes to the programming commitments in its local TV licence. Before deciding whether or not to consent to the changes, Ofcom published a statutory Notice asking for views on the proposals. Ofcom’s Broadcast Licensing Committee (BLC) met to consider ESTV’s request on 9 September 2014.

After considering the request against the statutory grounds and taking account of all the representations made by interested parties in response to the Notice, the BLC decided not to consent to the proposed variations.

Channel 4 and Channel 5 had been among those calling on Ofcom to reject the proposal to slash London Live’s programming, arguing it would set an “unwelcome precedent” that would “devalue” public service broadcasting.
In addition, two failed bidders for the TV licence – London8 and Channel 6 – threatened legal action if Ofcom grants London Live’s licence changes.

Responding to Ofcom’s decision, Tim Kirkman, chief operating officer at London Live, said: “I am disappointed by this outcome as I believe the changes would have allowed us to produce an even better product for Londoners; we had no plans to reduce the volume of fresh local content or news and current affairs, just the times we broadcast it. 

“Not being allowed these changes is not critical, but will continue to challenge us. However, the business is continuing to deliver, with nine consecutive weeks of audience growth, and we are now reaching over 10% of Londoners every week, with last week our 2nd best week so far – only very marginally behind our launch week”.

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By Expat