BLTV goes bust - Who wants to be a Birmingham Local TV licence holder?

BLTV was to launch a channel called "City8" for Birmingham
Local TV operators are preparing to pounce on Birmingham's local TV licence after the company that won the licence went into administration.

BLTV won the local TV licence for Birmingham and the Black Country in November 2012. On the 9th June 2014, Ofcom finally granted a licence that would allow the channel to launch on Freeview on 3rd November, just days before the two year deadline that was set when the licence was originally awarded in November 2012.

Now, The Guardian reports that rival local TV operators have been approached by BLTV's administrators requesting expressions of interest in acquiring the licence. There is barely anything beyond the licence to acquire: the station has no studio premises or broadcast equipment.

Made TV, headed by Chief Executive Officer Jamie Conway, has been associated with a bid for the Birmingham licence, as has That's TV, under chief executive Daniel Cass. Esther Rantzen, who is associated with That's TV, is reportedly bidding to become 'the saviour' of local TV in Birmingham.

Both media groups already hold other local TV licences, with Made TV preparing to launch local TV in Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle and Middlesborough - with the first channel launches expected next month - and That's TV has the licence to operate various local TV stations from Oxford down to the Solent via Basingstoke, Guildford, Reading and across to Salisbury.

On their websites Made TV says it is the "UK's largest local TV broadcaster"; That's TV says it's "the UK's largest local TV licence operator."

Made TV originally put in a bid for the Birmingham local TV licence in 2012. That's TV did not originally apply. Other original applicants for the licence were "Bham TV" and "YourTV Birmingham".

  • Regardless of the situation affecting the local TV licence holder for Birmingham, viewers with Freeview and YouView in and around Birmingham can still enjoy services being broadcast on the Local TV multiplex created to carry local TV in Birmingham and the Black Country. QVC Extra, plus timeshare channels POP and Chart Show TV take up two of the three slots on the local TV multiplex, broadcast wherever local TV already operates or where it is expected to launch. Viewers in the Birmingham local TV coverage area can find the services on Freeview/YouView channels 57, 67 and 75.

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