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.