Archant in joint bid for London local TV licence
Archant is a leading partner, along with fellow media groups Tindle and Trinity Mirror, in the Channel 6 Consortium which has submitted a bid for the London local TV franchise.
The London local newspaper groups, who between them publish scores of local titles covering the length and breadth of London, have teamed up with former Trinity Mirror executive Richard Horwood and his TV management team to submit the LondonTV bid.
Horwood said this makes the Channel 6 bid the only one that works on every level. “It builds on the unique and deep local resources and connections of London’s local newspapers, working collaboratively and enthusiastically with them rather than competing. Our partnership with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) will enable the channel to engage with London’s diverse local communities in a way never before imagined. And working with the Creative Skillset media academies, we’ll be developing and giving employment to a whole new breed of multimedia professionals. This is the perfect combination to deliver the Government’s local TV objectives for London.”
While the consortium is uniquely connected into the local communities, their businesses and their stories, a free-to-air advertising-funded TV channel for London needs to attract a big audience to win TV advertisers to pay for the core local programming mission.
Horwood explained: “This is why we will combine our extensive local news and community engagement programmes with world-class entertainment to create a commercially strong and sustainable TV channel, befitting the guaranteed prominent on-screen programme guide listing afforded by the PSB status given to the new franchise. Prominent listing is a double-edged sword.
“Being right next to the most popular entertainment channels will cast an unforgiving spotlight on London’s TV channel, so it needs to look like it belongs there from day one – which is what LondonTV has been designed to do. This is the very real difference between a channel that is just about London, and a channel worthy of London.”
Archant Chief Executive, Adrian Jeakings, said: “Archant is a community media company, and with our newspaper, magazine and digital reach across London we have real insight into the communities at the heart of Europe’s most vibrant capital. The Channel 6 Consortium is a perfect fit with our community-first philosophy, and we are delighted to be part of a service which will give an even broader voice to the people of London.”
Sir Ray Tindle, Chairman of Tindle Newpapers, said: “For 60 years we have concentrated on local newspapers that serve their local communities. All of our titles are local and our editors, subs and reporters really do know about the communities they serve. Giving that local reporting a broadcast voice right across London in partnership with London’s other two major local publishers, Archant and Trinity Mirror, is a tremendous initiative and has my whole-hearted support.”
Georgina Harvey, Managing Director of Trinity Mirror Regionals, added: “Being involved in local TV is aligned to our key objectives of diversification and seeking opportunities for growth. There are obvious synergies which exist between local TV and our local media businesses, particularly in the cities we operate in, and this is consistent with our multi-platform strategy ambitions."
Clive Jones, the Consortium’s Chairman and former Chief Executive of Carlton Television and the man who created the London News Network for LWT and Carlton, adds: “I passionately believe that local media are a vital part of our national heritage. That’s why prominently listed free-to-air broadcast local television excites me.
“Like no other medium, it can present the real happenings in our genuine communities in a vibrant and accessible way, up-front on our TV screens without viewers having to pay for it, to everyone and not just to the few who go out of their way to find out and get involved. It can support local journalism to hold those in authority to account, and help us to understand why it’s important to vote for our local councillors, Assembly Members and local MPs, telling us what they actually stand for and deliver on our behalf.”
With David Mannion counted amongst the management team – until recently Editor-in-Chief of ITV News and one of the most respected TV newsmen – and an impressive line-up of programme-making, technical and commercial specialists, the Channel 6 Consortium’s professional TV expertise is clear.
With this top TV management and the resources of London’s local press, combined with a commitment to create over 100 new jobs for London (many drawn from the best graduates emerging from the Creative Skillset network of academies), a partnership with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), and an editorial advisory board designed to ensure that the Channel consistently reflects London’s diverse communities, cultures and interest groups, LondonTV has all the attributes to deliver a genuinely compelling new and original service to London.
There are four others consortiums bidding for the London licence
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt wants the first new local TV stations up and running by 2015 and is due to award the first licences this autumn.