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Local TV application for Inverness rejected

Ofcom has rejected the only application for the Inverness local TV service, stating it was not satisfied that the applicant had proposed a credible business model to "enable it to launch and maintain the proposed service for the licence period."

Inverness City TV (ICTV) from the Moray Firth Media Trust was the sole applicant for the licence, which would have enabled it to launch a local TV service for the Inverness area on Freeview.

Moray Firth Media Trust had proposed to broadcast 21 hours per week of first-run local programming. Examples of content provided in the application included "sports coverage, SPL / Highland League / Shinty / Rugby etc. Local news and current affairs. Gaelic broadcasts and coverage of local events, local businesses and third sector interests. Tourism, rural or wildlife contents relevant to the local area."

But Ofcom's Broadcast Licensing Committee (BLC) felt the proposals were too "ambitious" when compared to the other local TV services with similar coverage areas.

It raised concerns about the channel's business model. In its explaination as to why the licence was not awarded, Ofcom's BLC said:
"The applicant would be entirely reliant on grant funding both to launch and sustain the service and that MFMT was not planning on carrying out any commercial activity. Although MFMT expressed confidence that a number of organisations would commit if the application was successful, no funding had yet been established or any commitments confirmed. The BLC also noted that MFMT had no formal agreement with any key suppliers (the application referred only to “initial discussions” and expressions of interest) and it had not provided evidence of any third party partnerships or commitment from the local community to contribute to the ongoing operation of the proposed service."

Inverness was the only Scottish location in the recent round of local TV licence awards where STV didn't make an application. While no local TV service has now been licenced for Inverness, STV was confirmed as having been successful in acquiring local TV licences in Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee, adding these three locations to Edinburgh and Glasgow, where the broadcaster already operates a local TV service.


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