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That's Success for new local TV operator for Reading, Salisbury and Surrey

The launch of a new network of local TV stations across southern England moved closer this week, with award of three new local TV licences to That's TV, as part of regulator Ofcom's second batch of local TV licence awards.

That's TV will operate local TV in and around Guildford, Reading and Salisbury. The licence awards mean That's TV has been successful in receiving five local TV licences, with forthcoming stations for Oxford and Solent areas licensed by Ofcom as part of an earlier licensing phase.

That's Surrey (Guildford), That's Reading and That's Salisbury are expected to launch in 2015 on Freeview and YouView channel 8 and on Virgin Media channel 159.

The company is working with Comux, the local TV multiplex operator, to seek improvements in coverage for the new services, to ensure as many households as possible are in range of the signals. Currently, local TV from the Hannington transmitter is earmarked to broadcast on the same frequency as London Live from Crystal Palace, which could restrict coverage.

According to That's TV, the new local TV services "will bring the number 1 rating local TV news format in the US to the UK plus live sports, phone-ins and entertainment.

"Every That’s TV affiliate will provide its own local programmes for the area it targets."

That's TV is the trading name of Six TV, in turn a division of That's Media Ltd. Chief executive Daniel Cass formerly led analogue channel Six TV which operated in parts of the southern region during the last decade.

Before the coalition government under former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to facilitate local TV stations across the UK, Six TV had been trying to get local TV on Freeview. In 2010 and again in 2011, Daniel Cass critised the then policy to shunt local TV channels behind adult channels in the Freeview channel guide, with the policy being cited as a primary reason why the migration of Six TV to digital had stalled.

That's TV has also applied for the local TV licence for Basingstoke, but an announcement from Ofcom is still pending.


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