Ofcom has decided to stop advertising for local TV licences in 13 locations across the UK after failing to attract service providers, effectively pulling the plug on local TV in those areas.
The broadcast regulator said the decision, announced today, had been made “in light of the significant financial challenges that the local TV sector is facing”.
No local TV licence has yet been awarded in the 13 areas, or in similar “substitute” areas, nearby after six years.
Ofcom has freed TV distribution firm Comux from a commitment to build transmission infrastructure in the areas as part of the framework laid out in 2012 under then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The areas affected comprise:
- Bangor, Wales
- Kidderminster, England
- Bromsgrove, England
- Stratford-upon-Avon, England
- Barnstaple, England
- Limavady, Northern Ireland
- Derry, Northern Ireland
- Inverness, Scotland
- Luton (Bedford + Luton), England
- Plymouth, England
- Stoke on Trent, England
- Gloucester (Gloucester + Malvern + Hereford), England
- Forth Valley, Scotland
Ofcom made its decision following a consultation this year.
It said “continuing to require the extension of the local TV transmission network to these locations or substitute areas, as previously planned, would have an adverse impact on the economic viability of the local TV sector”.
There are currently about 30 local TV stations, including London Live. STV2, covering Scotland, was closed last month.