Sony Pictures Television and local TV network Made TV have teamed up for a new shared programme block.
The new arrangement, which came into force on Thursday 25th May, sees local TV channels that belong to the Made TV network take two four-hour programme blocks from truTV every day, giving truTV prime access to Freeview viewers: where available, Made TV’s channels are on Freeview channel 7 in England and channel 8 in Wales.

Programmes from truTV UK to be screen on Made TV include RuPaul’s Drag Race, Snapped, Paranormal Survivor and the UK premiere of the latest series of America’s Got Talent, starting in June.

TruTV UK programmes will be simulcast on Made TV between 1pm and 5pm and again between 9pm and 1am (8pm – midnight on Tuesdays to accommodate America’s Got Talent), replacing previously scheduled local, syndicated and shared programmes. Local news bulletins on the affected stations have been moved earlier in the evening to accommodate the new schedule.

The deal was implemented following the relaxation of quotas restricting acquired or shared programmes on Made TV’s Teesside service earlier this week. Other channels did not have the same restrictions.

Made TV operates local TV services in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Mold, Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

TruTV UK has since earlier this year been under the ownership of Sony Pictures Television after being saved from closure by previous owners Turner Broadcasting System. The channel is also available on Freeview channel 68, but due to current restrictions on its Freeview broadcast hours, the midnight to 1 am simulcast of TruTV will be exclusive to Made TV on Freeview.

Sony Pictures Television effectively funds the distribution costs of local TV on Freeview, with the company having now taken all of the spare bandwidth beside the local TV signal to distribute channels including Tiny Pop and True Crime. As part of the set-up of local TV on Freeview, proceeds from renting out the spare local TV Freeview capacity goes toward the cost of distributing local channels.

With the changes to the Made TV network, the majority of the local TV channels currently on air now fall back on an another channel to provide a backbone of programming. While Made TV has teamed with truTV, That’s TV – which operates in locations including Portsmouth, Cambridge and Manchester as well as Latest TV Brighton, Bay TV Swansea and NVTV, fall back on classic film channel Talking Pictures TV.

One of the original proposals for UK local TV was that each local outlet would have been attached to a national network providing a spine of programming. These proposals were dropped by former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in June 2011 in favour of creating more “financially independent” local TV operators.

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By Expat