STV allowed to cut local programme commitments on City TV services

Ofcom has approved another set of requests to reduce the amount of local programming a local TV station has to offer, this time for STV's City TV stations serving Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The amount of local programming to be shown on either STV Edinburgh has been cut from 16 to 9 hours per week and on STV Glasgow, local output is being cut from 21 to 14 hours per week.

Commitments detailing how and when news and current affairs programming will be broadcast on either channel have been watered down, with STV free to allocate the 10 hour a week quota on STV Edinburgh and 12 hour a week quota on STV Glasgow across the seven day period.

Earlier this year, both STV Glasgow and STV Edinburgh replaced a number of their standalone daily magazine programmes in favour of a more unified schedule with fewer variations between the stations. Critics have said STV is creating "STV2" through the back door.

It's STV's second request to revise programme commitments on the City TV channels since their launch and follows similar requests to reduce local hours on other stations making up the local TV network, including London Live, Big Centre TV (Birmingham), That's Manchester, That's Oxford and That's Solent, who all committed to providing generous amounts of airtime for local TV content as part of their original licence bids.

The decision by Ofcom's decision makers, made on the 29th April 2016, but published today, noted "whilst there would be a significant reduction in the volume of first-run local programming in peak-time as well as a removal of scheduling detail for first run local news and current affairs programming, the total volume of local programming, including local news programming, would remain unchanged."

After careful deliberation, the decision makers considered that the "character of the service overall would still be maintained following the requested variation. In particular, they noted that there would still be local programming provided in peak-time and that news bulletins would continue to be provided by both channels on a daily basis."

STV Glasgow and STV Edinburgh broadcast on Freeview channel 8 in their respective terrestrial transmission areas, and are also carried on Virgin Media and Sky for viewers in the local areas. STV is currently planning to launch new local stations for Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee.

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  1. Before STV & other local tv service owners take the flak for cutting locally produced hours of programming,a question has got to be asked. Do viewers really want local television?

    1. I recently managed to tune in the Cambridge local TV mux (no idea what's changed and why I couldn't get it previously). Nothing on it inspires me to watch it.

  2. I used to work for a company where a bloke took a job knowing that he would be working permenant evenings, five days a week. A few months after joining he started complaining about never seeing his kid and how inconvenient to his social life working permenant evenings was. Sure enough he got a move to days.

    He openly admitted to the rest of us that he only took the evening job to get in to the company and planned the move to the day shift from the outset.

    Seems to me that STV G&E have done something similar and accepted the terms of the contract in order to get the licence awarded but without having any intention of fulfilling the terms license in the long term. Any company that bid against them must be feeling pissed off right now.

  3. I do hope that OfCom will make the right and natural decision to open up their reserved PSB channel numbers (6?) to competitive bidding. I don't see why these have-a-go-then-give-up 'public service' broadcasters shouldn't experience the joys of channel numbers in the mid 30s like the low rent, half baked, commercial sludge broadcasters they're rapidly beginning to resemble.


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