localIndependent broadcaster Information TV has joined the bidders vying for culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposed new national channel for delivering local TV services in the UK.
In its submission to Hunt, Information TV claimed that it is the only bidder to have “already made local TV happen”, and without the need for “excessive funding, new legislation or regulatory changes”.
The company operates channels on Sky, Freesat, Freeview and IPTV, providing a platform for a range of niche content providers, including ‘local’ services such as Lakes TV, Liverpool City of Culture and Man United Fans TV.
Information TV feels that it is therefore well placed to take on Hunt’s proposed “backbone” channel on Freeview for delivering local content and services to major British cities.

In total, 11 bidders are known to have submitted local TV proposals to Hunt’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport before the deadline expired on March 1.
Confirmed bidders include Richard Horwood’s Channel 6 group, Element TV and a Scottish consortium, along with former ITV News editor Nigel Dacre and Welsh independent production company Tinopolis.
Also in the running is the Local Television Network, led by Greg Dyke; the Local6 group backed by former Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson; TripleSee, an IPTV joint venture fronted by former BBC executive Simon Walker; and local media operator Six Television, backed by commercial radio group UKRD.
In a statement, Information TV chief executive Fred Perkins warned that “big companies with big ideas” may not necessarily be able to “deliver the aspirations of the local TV providers”.
“The government wants to create the Big Society – empowering individuals and local communities to work with and for one another. But Big Society will not be served by the reinvention of regional ITV, run by big companies and even bigger egos, spending tens of millions of pounds on a new national TV channel,” said Perkins.
“Local TV is not about mass audiences or massive spending, it’s about bottom-up engagement with local capabilities, where the stakeholders in local TV are the entire local community. And it doesn’t require millions of pounds of funding, particularly the £40m from the BBC – which, in these times of austerity, could be better deployed.”

He added: “The top-down approach is one which patently does not address the aspirations of the many local stakeholders who, for several years, have been campaigning for local TV across multiple fronts.”
The successful bidder chosen by Hunt will get access to the hugely valuable sixth slot on Freeview electronic programme guides from 2013.

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By Expat