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London local TV operator announced: Evening Standard backed London Live to launch later this year

Ofcom has this morning awarded the licence to operate a new local TV service in London  to ESTV Ltd.

ESTV - part of the Lebedev media empire which includes the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers - will launch under the name London Live.

Ofcom's Broadcast Licencing Committee was impressed at ESTV Ltd's proposed "opportunities for close local community involvement, in particular, its proposals for IPTV services in each London borough which would be included in its programming commitments."

Responding to the announcement, Sarah Sands, editor of the Evening Standard, said: "This is a historic day for the Evening Standard and we are tremendously proud to be given the opportunity to bring London to life not only in print and online but now on screen, too.

We aim to give the two million Londoners who read the Evening Standard a terrific service on television - and welcome an even wider audience."

On Freeview, the channel will be carried on a new local TV multiplex operated by Comux UK from the Crystal Palace transmitter. It will appear on Freeview channel 8.  In order for the London Live service to reach more households than previously planned, Comux has signalled that it wants to transmit the service from the top of the Crystal Palace mast rather than from part way down, as was indicated in Ofcom's original plan. However, Ofcom will need to provide consent for the proposal.

In addition to launching on Freeview, London Live is expected to be carried on satellite and cable platforms. Sky has allocated channel 117 for the channel. It is currently unclear where local TV services would sit on the Freesat platform.

London Live is expected to be on-air before the end of this year and will provide Londoners with local news and information, initially for 18 hours a day. According to the station's application for the licence, it will work with in partnership with London talk radio station LBC for content.

What Londoners might be seeing on London Live later this year

There were five applicants for the London local TV licence, with Richard Horwood's London TV (Channel 6 Consortium) bid being the most high profile loser in the process. London TV was backed by newspaper publishers Archant and Tindle.

London TV
London 8
Made in London
Your TV London

In the end, according to information from Ofcom's Broadcast Licencing Committee,  the local TV award process was narrowed down to 2 applicants - London 8 and ESTV/London Live - once the five applicant's commitments regarding serving the various London communities was taken into account. London TV's application was deemed not to offer a distinct enough service for London, compared to ESTV/London Live and London 8, while Your TV London and Made In London's applications were deemed insufficient with regards meeting "the needs of the area both as a whole and in respect of its constituent parts as well as the expectations of viewers in the coverage area."

Local TV: locations, transmitters and service names >

This article was updated at 19:51 04/02/2013


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