Ofcom has postponed its decision on awarding the remaining local TV licences and now expects to complete the process in February 2013. This means a three-month delay for an announcement on the lucrative London franchise.
Ofcom has asked all the bidders for the remaining eight licences – for cities including Manchester, Glasgow and London – to clarify key areas of their content plans, including the levels of original programming and the amount of news they intend to provide.
This delay means the local TV licence for the London area, which caters for over 4 million homes, is expected to be awarded by the end of February. The five London bidders had originally been told by Ofcom to expect a decision in November.
An Ofcom spokesman said some of the bidders in the 11 franchises which have so far been awarded have already been asked to clarify their programming plans, so it was decided to ask for an across-the-board clarification from the remaining bidders before they are formally considered by a panel.
An Ofcom spokesman said: “We have already licensed over half of the local TV channels and will complete the process over the coming months. In order to fully assess the remaining applications, we have asked applicants to clarify some aspects of their programming commitments. We have therefore updated the indicative timetable to reflect this.”
Ofcom received 57 bids for 19 of the 21 local TV licences it initially advertised and 11 have been so far been awarded, including Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Grimsby, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.