Much noise has been generated surrounding the very remote possibility of a local television service for Peterborough.
This is part of the original OFCOM statement, relating to local television, the full statement is at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/local-tv/statement
The paragraphs which will affect any proposal for Peterborough are given below. The highlights (italics) are ours! The high local news and talk content is welcome, but an expensive proposition to provide in terms of talent and resources. We also don't seem to have a multiplex anywhere near our area....
Local multiplex licensing process
1.28 We will assess applicants' proposals against the statutory criteria and Ofcom's general duties. These include the extent to which award of the licence would promote the development of local digital television; the extent of coverage proposed by the applicant, and the timetable for coverage build-out; the ability of the applicant to establish the proposed service and maintain it for the duration of the licence; and proposals by the applicant for promoting local digital television programme services.
The assessment and licensing process is set out in more detail in the Invitation to Apply for a Local Multiplex Licence.
L-DTPS licence conditions and requirements1.29 Local services will have specific content obligations, alongside general obligations that apply to all television broadcasters.
1.30 In usual circumstances the studio from which the service will be broadcast, and/or the main production base of the service, should be located within the licensed area.
1.31 L-DTPS licence applicants will need to describe their programming output and how it will satisfy the statutory criteria. They will summarise their local output in Programming Commitments, drafted as part of the licence application process. These will be written into the L-DTPS licence of the successful applicant and licensees will be held to these commitments.
1.32 Local services will be required to carry Party Political Broadcasts, and Ofcom will be consulting on its guidance on this obligation with a view to publishing a new set of guidance that includes guidance for local licensees, by the time any local services are broadcasting.
1.33 More broadly, we expect local TV services to engage with the local democratic process. The licence application form invites applicants specifically to consider what programming they propose in order to facilitate civic understanding and fair and well-informed debate through coverage of local news and current affairs.
1.34 L-DTPS licensees will have to comply with Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, Ofcom's Code on the Scheduling of Advertising, and the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising.
They will need to comply with Ofcom's Code on Television Access Services setting out the requirements on subtitling, sign language and audio description (although we anticipate that most may be exempt from these requirements due to their audience share).
1.35 L-DTPS licensees will be specifically prohibited from broadcasting pornographic material and longer advertisements for a chat service made available for purchase by means of a premium rate service.
1.36 Any L-DTPSs not receivable outside the UK will be exempt from the advertising minutage restrictions set out in the AVMS directive (but not from advertising scheduling rules).
1.37 The Government has signalled its intention to lay new legislation to remove the requirement for local services to commission 10% of their output from independent production companies. This is an obligation on all broadcasters, and if not removed by a change in the law, will apply.
1.38 The L-DTPS licensee will need to make the service available to the local multiplex licensee at all times, at an interface point and in a specified technical format.
1.39 All Phase 1 services must be broadcasting within two years of award, unless coverage is not built-out at their location. In the period after licence award a launch date within this two year period will be agreed. We hope some services can begin broadcasting earlier.
1.40 Licences will be granted for a period such that they are coterminous with the local multiplex licence, because of their mutual interdependence. So the first 21 L-DTPS licences will be for up to 12 years, depending upon their exact launch date in relation to the local multiplex licence term. Any L-DTPS licence subsequently advertised will be granted for a shorter period.
1.41 L-DTPS licensees will be required to keep full recordings of their output for 60 days, and to complete a short annual return so that Ofcom can meet its statutory obligations to report on this emerging sector.
1.42 L-DTPS licensees must co-operate with each other, and with the local multiplex licensee, to facilitate the provision of local TV, and to participate in the formation of a legal entity which is intended to facilitate that provision. They are required to seek to measure the number of viewers of the service in co-operation with the legal entity, and to encourage that entity to apply or negotiate for a local multiplex licence, should one be advertised or become available.
L-DTPS licensing process
1.43 Ofcom will first establish that any applicant is eligible to hold a licence, then we will distinguish between applicants on the basis of how they compare to each other on the statutory criteria.
1.44 Applicants will need to present their programming proposition and also their business plan so that we can assess their ability to maintain the proposed service. We ask for a clear business plan and strategy for the duration of the licence, including financial information - budgets and funding - for set-up and the first three years of operation.
1.45 We invite applicants to set out aspects of their proposed local programming and scheduling as part of their application, including how much local programming will be in 'peak time', and how much broadcast material may be produced by a different organisation.
1.46 We are not setting quantitative requirements but we consider news to be the most important type of local television content. Applicants should propose a reasonable provision of news and current affairs, bearing in mind the public subsidy and public purposes of local TV.
1.47 As a guide, we will be unlikely to consider less than seven hours in total of broadcast news per week to be too burdensome for even the smallest L-DTPS licensee. This refers to duration of broadcast output, and we are open to proposals on how it may be scheduled, so long as a substantial proportion is during peak time.
We will judge proposals in the context of the scale of operation, and resources available. We have taken on board comments on our news guidance, and sought to clarify it: we intend to be flexible but nonetheless to prioritise journalism-led news.
1.48 We ask applicants to propose a specific launch date. The proposed build-out schedule, when the local multiplex licence is awarded, will be compared with proposed L-DTPS launch dates and, as far as possible, these will be aligned following discussion between the parties.
1.49 In relation to the positioning of L-DTPSs on the DTT Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), DMOL - the organisation responsible for the management and allocation of channel numbers on DTT - has set out proposals for consultation. The consultation closes on 24 May 2012.
1.50 Following responses we received which asked for greater clarity about the EPG position of any L-DTPS service that wishes to simulcast on satellite or cable, Ofcom has written to Sky, Virgin and Freesat asking for confirmation of the likely positioning on these platforms. We will publish the replies we receive on our website before L-DTPS applications close so that potential licensees can take this into account in their business plans.
1.51 The BBC has set out its proposed requirements and processes for both the local television multiplex funding and the purchase of content from L-DTPS licensees.
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