Department for Culture Media and Sport

local television

We have created a local TV framework to enable over 20 local TV services to emerge across the UK.

Earlier this year, DCMS passed legislation providing new powers to Ofcom to award local TV and spectrum licences to enable a new generation of local TV to emerge across the UK.

On 10 May 2012, Ofcom invited applications for the first 21 local TV licences. The bidding round for these first licences ended on 13 August 2012 and Ofcom received 57 applications for Local TV content licences and four applications for the Local TV multiplex licence. Ofcom is now in the process of awarding licences, and the first local TV services expected to be on air by Autumn 2013.

The local TV licensing application process is a result of extensive public consultation last year which saw more than 330 responses to our consultations and more than 500 people attending the local TV Summits held last summer.

The framework the Government has put in place will provide licensed local TV services with access to affordable spectrum and prominence on electronic programme guides. In return for these benefits, local services will be required to provide local content which meets the needs of local people and is more relevant to their daily lives.

And as part of the local TV framework, the BBC is contributing up to £40 million - up to £25 million towards capital costs of building the local TV infrastructure and up to £5 million per year over three years to acquire local content.

For the first time there is now a comprehensive framework in place which will provide market incentives for a new generation of local TV services to produce sustainable local content.

Local TV timeline

  • June 2010: Nicholas Shott appointed to undertake commercial viability study
  • September 2010: Nicholas Shott’s interim report published
  • December 2010: Nicholas Shott’s final report published
  • January –April 2011: Local Media Action Plan consultation
  • June 2011: Summary of consultation responses published
  • July – September 2011: Consultation on Local TV Framework and Pioneer Locations
  • August – September 2011: Local TV Summits
  • 13 December 2011: Government’s final policy position published and announcement on locations
  • 15 December 2011: Draft legislation laid
  • 19 December 2011: Ofcom opened its consultation on Licensing Local Television
  • January – February 2012: Legislation debated and came into force
  • March 2012: Ofcom’s consultation closed
  • 10 May 2012: Ofcom published its statement on local TV and issued invitation to apply for local TV licences
  • 10 May 2012: BBC Trust published a document on funding arrangements for the local TV multiplex
  • June 2012: Independent Producers Order came into force
  • 13 August 2012: Ofcom’s deadline for licence applications
  • From September 2012: Ofcom awards the first local TV licences and the local TV multiplex licence
  • By end of 2012: Successful local TV Multiplex applicant agrees terms with BBC and with transmission provider
  • By Q3 2013: First local TV services expected to be on air

Legislation to enable Local TV

Five pieces of legislation make up part of the Government’s local TV framework. These are: