As part of the government’s new local TV initiative – which will see over 20 regional channels set up on Freeview across the UK – OFCOM have been accepting proposals from companies who want to control the handful of free spaces available on your tellybox.
In the last couple of months, one name to come forward has been Phil Redmond, who’s got some serious TV and cultural weight behind him. Phil’s Our-TV idea includes working with cultural organisations like FACT and National Museums Liverpool, as well as services like the police and schools, to create hyperlocal video content and news.
Last year, prior to Redmond’s bid, local online TV channel Bay TV officially expressed an interest in the move, and and as they outline in their video report have now put in an official application – proposing a staff of 18 across the region, including video journalists, producers and creatives. It’d also continue to stream online.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on Bay TV’s output for a while. For a station that’s so far restricted to online video it’s consistently putting out some really interesting, wide ranging mini-features on its site. The quality’s occasionally a little shaky, but it’s got a fast turnaround time: uploading news and cultural coverings within a matter of hours. Chief Exec Chris Johnson told SevenStreets today that Bay TV’s history is grounded in “a concept created by the late Mike Short, former World in Action producer, and the man who invented ‘This Morning’ at the Albert Dock”.
So, who’s going to win that money-can’t-buy space in your living room? Well, both sides have their positives. The fact that Bay TV’s been producing solid content already, with presumably a pretty small budget, is incredibly impressive. Redmond’s station isn’t tried and tested yet, but he’s got some serious history within broadcasting and cultural circles: not many people have both Brookside and 2008’s Capital of Culture on their CV. Running a local TV channel is going to be a struggle for anyone (see Manchester’s sadly departed Channel M as an example), but both of these parties have the experience to make it happen.
The deadline for applications closes this week, with the successful bidder being announced in the autumn. Channel 8 is set to go live across Merseyside in late 2013.