Canis to foster local TV stations

10.22 Europe/London, October 11, 2011 By Julian Clover

Canis Media has opened a new local TV division designed to support the emerging local TV sector.

Chief executive Ed Hall told Broadband TV News that Canis has been involved with local TV from the very beginning through operations such as Solent TV on the South Coast through to the Guardian Media Group’s Channel M. The new division will be run by the broadcast consultant Clare Bramley.
“It’s going to be challenging and anyone who says there is one local model that will work is wrong,” said Hall.
In August the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published a list of 65 towns and cities that will have the opportunity to host local television services. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is keen to give would-be broadcasters the opportunity, and despite previous failed attempts to run UK local TV, there has been interest from both community groups and local newspapers alike.
Following the emergence of split local news by ITV in the late 1980s, the commercial broadcaster has now largely reverted to pan-regional bulletins. The BBC also expanded its local news to the extent it was able to supplant the local leadership previously enjoyed by the ITV network. “What the BBC did was to crush local viability in the same way it did with talk radio,” said Hall. With the BBC now having to pull back from local operations in order to meet stringent budget cuts, Hall says the time is now right to sit down for discussions with would be local operators, rather than provide a pre-pack kit.
Hall believes it will be necessary to run a variety of different business models in order for local TV to be viable. He says support will be essential with the likelihood of many entrants not coming from a traditional broadcast background.