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Hyperlocal stations to get 10 year licence extension


Channels including Sheffield Live and That’s TV could remain on air until 2034, under new proposals.

The extended licences would be subject to a review by Ofcom to ensure they can “continue meeting local audiences’ needs.”

Currently licences are due to expire in 2025.

The consultation published this week will invite the public and media industry to submit their views.

Launched in 2013, the then Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt’s vision was to have a television station in every major town or city broadcasting local content.

However, financial difficulties and consolidation saw a number of stations and networks request that they reduce their local commitments.

The new consultation has been set up in recognition that some outlets have struggled “to generate stable revenue streams, maintain consistent audience numbers and sustainably fund genuinely local content.”

The government said that it wanted to hear views on the “opportunities and challenges” facing the sector so that they could be sustainable in the long term.

“Local TV stations from Belfast to Birmingham help to support local journalism, drive the creative economy and foster pride in communities,” said Media Minister John Whittingdale.

“We want to see this continue, so we’ve set out plans for Ofcom to review all services to ensure they’re well positioned to continue serving local audiences with trusted and distinctive content for years to come.”

Should Ofcom approve each station’s 10 year plan, their services will be allowed to continue and they would retain their prominent position in electronic TV guides.

If a provider opts not to renew the licence or Ofcom doesn’t renew their it, it will move to a competitive relicensing process.

The 12-week consultation will close on 30 August and is open to both industry and members of the public. Subject to the outcome of consultation, the government stated that it planned to move forward with the necessary secondary legislation later this year.

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