Ofcom pauses local TV licensing
July 30, 2018
By Colin Mann
Following a consultation issued in April 2018, UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has decided not to advertise or re-advertise licences local TV services for 13 locations, in order to help protect the economic sustainability of the sector as a whole.
When Ofcom established its framework for licensing local TV in 2012, it said that it would advertise licences for local TV services in all of the locations in which the successful applicant for the local digital terrestrial multiplex licence, Comux, had committed to building its transmission infrastructure. Where it had not been able to license a service for one of these locations, it said it would consider advertising a licence for a similar location.
There are currently 13 locations for which Comux has a licence obligation to extend its transmission infrastructure if Ofcom were to advertise and award a licence for a local TV service. However, in light of the significant financial challenges that the local TV sector is facing, Ofcom has provisionally concluded that it would not be appropriate to advertise local TV licences in these areas and hold Comux to this part of its obligations.
This decision releases Comux from its obligation to build new masts that would have been needed to support services in these particular locations.