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Don't allow Ofcom to disenfranchise 75% of Londoners by not enabling them to view the new London TV channel being licensed this year.

Ofcom will be licencing 20 new local TV channels this year. The idea is to promote local democracy and greater engagement by ordinary people in our communities.

The biggest one will be for London, but the regulator Ofcom is planning to licence it only on a very limited Freeview signal, that will cover just 60% of London, missing out much of northwest and south London. Worse still, only 40% of people use Freeview to get TV, so only a minority of even those covered by the Freeview signal would actually be able to view the London channel. In other words, only about 1.25m of London's 5m homes would be able to see the new London channel if limited to the available Freeview signal, disenfranchising 9m people. So much for promoting local democracy and community engagement...

The solution is for Ofcom to use its powers to force Sky also to carry the channel prominently. As the channel has already been classified by the Government as a "public service broadcaster", this means front page listing on Sky's electronic programme guide, alongside the other commercial PSBs - ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Only then could the vast majority of Londoners see their channel.

Freesat and Virgin Media would also be subject to the same Ofcom ruling, but Sky is the most important TV "platform" with nearly half of all homes.

Ofcom's ruling on this is vital because satellite broadcasting will cost the new channel about £1m annually, and so its prominent listing on Sky's programme guide - to which it is entitled as a PSB if Ofcom does its job - is the only way to ensure it will get enough viewing and earn enough advertising revenue to be able to afford this extra satellite broadcasting cost.

Ofcom will only stand up to Sky if people demand it. We need Ofcom to know that limiting the new London channel to just a quarter of Londoners is unacceptable. So please tell them by emailing your views to local.tv@ofcom.org.uk.

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    Richard HorwoodRichard Horwood shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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