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That's TV preparing to launch local TV in Manchester and Lancashire

UPDATED Local TV in Manchester and Lancashire is set to launch under the That's TV brand, over two years after licences to operate local TV services in Manchester, Blackpool and Preston were awarded to YourTV.

An advert for a Station Editor, posted on the Media.info jobs directory today, reveals That's TV is planning to launch That's Manchester and That's Lancashire on Freeview channel 8 in the coming months. It promotes That's Manchester as "the largest local TV channel outside of London targeting a potential 1.1m homes in the Greater Manchester area." It promised that the local channel "will provide a varied schedule of news, sport, lifestyle, entertainment and discussion programming plus specialist ethnic and music programming."

That's Lancashire is to "serve the Blackpool and Preston area with news, sport, current affairs, music and entertainment."

Both services will broadcast from Lancashire's Winter Hill transmitter to viewers with Freeview, using a directional beam to their respective local areas. Bay TV Liverpool is already on air using Winter Hill's Merseyside beam.

After we first published this article, the Prolific North website has since revealed that YourTV will continue to hold the licences, but That's TV will have a controlling stake in the company. The channels have been granted an extension until June 2015 to go on-air.

Last month, industry publication Broadcast investigated the current status of the Manchester local TV service, as the deadline for launching a service approached. It quoted an Ofcom spokeswoman that confirmed that the regulator was in talks with YourTV about its plans for local TV in Manchester, but was unable to get a comment from YourTV.

That's TV holds licences for numerous local TV stations in the South of England, and is already operating That's Solent in the Southampton and Portsmouth area. It's planned service for Manchester comes three years after previous local station Channel M closed.

Local TV has provoked a mixed response from viewers and industry, but Ed Vaizey today said that local TV "was a stunning success". Local TV stations including Notts TV, Made in Leeds and STV Glasgow and Edinburgh have all recently announced positive viewing figures, but London Live, keenly observed by the London media has been subject to bitter criticism and last year reduced the amount of local output it broadcast.

  • Local TV coverage: The proposed boost to Sheffield Live's terrestrial coverage area via a transmitter in Grenoside, north of the City, will now not go ahead. Sheffield Live continues to broadcast on Freeview channel 8 from the Sheffield transmitter, also known as the Crosspool or Tapton Hill transmitter. Grenoside was due to boost coverage for those with aerials pointing at West Yorkshire's Emley Moor transmission tower. 
  • The Swansea local TV service, from Bay TV Swansea will benefit from wider coverage thanks to a change to the antenna pattern on the local TV transmitter. As Ofcom prepares to clear the 700 MHz chunk of TV frequencies at the end of decade, the coverage extension has only been granted until 2018.

Related link
Local TV: locations and transmitters 

updated 05/03/2014 19:00