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‘We’ve tried to create a channel that is completely different’ – Lebedev-owned London Live launches tonight

By Press Gazette

A new local television station for London based in the newsroom of The Independent and Evening Standard goes live this evening – the third local TV channel of its kind to launch in the UK.
London Live is set to launch at 6.30pm on Freeview Channel 8 with owner Evgeny Lebedev committed to spending £15m a year for the first three years.
It has recruited 50 editorial staff and will also draw on an integrated newsroom of around 300 journalists who currently work on the Lebedev-owned print titles and their websites. Last year some 150 Standard and Independent journalists took screen tests and since then many have had broadcast journalism training.
Lebedev told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I'm a Londoner and I've always loved London. I've been here since the age of eight
"London's a great city that has so much to offer as far as culture, art, theatre, music, sport.
"This is a purely London channel. I've been watching a lot of pilots and it looks very exciting."
He added: "As the newspapers, it will have its own editors and they will decide its editorial line. It has to be in line with Ofcom rules as the BBC and all the other channels.
"What I'm trying to do is create something that gives Londoners not only jobs but potentially if this television channel succeeds, a platform to launch new talent.
"We've tried to create a channel that is completely different from all the other channels."
The channel's news and current affairs operation is being headed up by former Sky executive Vikki Cook.
London was the most hotly-contest local TV franchise to be advertised by Ofcom. The group put in a bid in August 2012 and was up against four rivals: London8, LondonTV (backed by the Channel 6 Consortium), Made in London (part of the Made Television group) and YourTV London (which was led by former Conservative MP and candidate for London mayor Steven Norris).
The Lebedevs won Ofcom over in February 2013 with plans to provide 24-hours a day of programming seven days a week. This will include five and a half hours a day of news, and a great deal of new originally-commissioned comedy and entertainment.
There will be a morning news-based breakfast programme and an evening news show as well as hourly news updates.
London Live will be available to a potential audience of 9m people within the M25 and has the advantage of having a sister daily newspaper to help promote it.
Two of the 25 newly licensed local TV stations for the UK have gone live so far: Grimsby-based Estuary TV was the first channel in November, followed by Norwich-based Mustard TV earlier this month.
Local TV is benefiting from comparatively modest public funding, taken from the BBC licence fee, of £25m to cover start-up costs and then £5m a year for the first three years.

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