The Newsroom

London Live

announce News presenters (December 2013)

This site closed in March 2021 and is now a read-only archive
Its interesting they are continually requesting to have peak(prime) time original productions reduced. That was never going to work in the first place. To schedule programs at a time when its highly likely that no one would even watch, was foolish in the first place. So why create programming and "waste" money on programming when most people will be watching the big networks. Silly. Not sure why that was part of OFCOM's requirements in the first place. Its noble gesture to require that, but not realistic. The best programming strategy is always to place a few local programs just on the outside "peak(prime)" time and slot movies or acquired programming at peak and get as much ad revenue as you can....when you can. Early mornings, noon and 4-7pm are local programming sweet spots. That way you can build up your news dept and a few other non-news programmes.... not try to create an entire schedule of original shows in which the budgets are stretched so thin they all look like crap. Its just not feasible or realistic.
Really appreciate your input and although you're not far wrong it's always worth remembering that our viewing habits are different to the US - although of course the concept of local TV was completely mis-sold to a UK audience because they completely failed to mention the fact that of the numerous "local" channels in any market generally speaking at least 5 of them are affiliated to a network and therefore the hours they broadcast local content is severely reduced pretty much to the times you've advised.

What doesn't help with the OFCOM quotas is it's never quite clear exactly when a "new" programme is "new". Does a repeat of a show that's aired earlier on the same day, or even in the same week, count as new? If not the thresholds are very high - 55 hours a week is about 7-8 hours a day of new programming and that is something even the PSBs struggle with, whilst their well funded digital channels wouldn't manage that in a week. BBC2 has as little as 3.5 hours of original programming a night, plus Newsnight and 4 hours of news programming in the mornings, of which only one hour is exclusive to BBC2.

The news quotas have been ridiculous - the US local networks may comfortably put out an hour or two early morning, up to an hour at noon, at least 90 minutes in the early evening and 35 minutes at night, but it's a completely different market. Realistically here regional news provision by the well funded BBC and ITV has never totalled much more than an hour a day and to expect fledgling stations to provide over 5 times that was a none starter and also not the best use of resources.

Personally I think a pledge for 30 minutes of news in between 7-10pm (a time not served by BBC/ITV) and 30 minutes outside of prime time (i.e. before 6pm or after 10.30pm) would have been a more realistic place to start. London, as is every other region, is well served between 6-7pm by ITV and the BBC, so the best chance to pull an audience is surely in the 5pm hour or during primetime, which there is space to compete in especially with well made local content as roughly speaking about 50% of viewing is away from the main five channels.
I think Mouseboy is on to something, and whilst it's easy to say our viewing habits are different, our viewing habits and the kind of programmes we watch have changed significantly over the years, and there is no reason at all why they couldn't alter again.

Yes, the concept of local TV was mis-sold, but local programming is a mixed bag. Look at New Zealand, where local TV stations serve a smaller audience than in this country. Stations like Channel 39 Dunedin Television, and Canterbury Television provide some excellent local programming outside of news. A lot of US local public TV stations, and I'm mostly talking about stations outside of the major cities, have local news weekly review programmes, and interview shows, all of which can done relatively cheaply with simple sets and few cameras.

For some reason that I've never cottoned onto, our TV industry in the UK has developed a chronic aversion to local programming. The industry seems to think that fancier is better, and that content is less important than making it look comparable to something that the big US networks might produce and frankly I think such obsession with style over substance is the biggest problem in the broadcast media today.
London Lite Founding member
One of the Swiss regional channels, Canal9 produces a 30 minute news bulletin with a weather forecast produced by a weather company in Zurich, which is looped, so is shown at the top of the hour from 1700 CET.

Like the UK channels, there are some long winded packages, but they also get out of the studio and have discussions from local cafés in their region. For a mountainous Swiss region, this seems to be the solution as they know that viewers are just going to dip into the output.

The local channel for Geneva, Léman Bleu also does similar each evening with the news looped every hour during peak hours.
mark Founding member
I think a big part of the problem is that there's not a clear enough mission statement for Local TV. For me, its primary purpose should be helping people to better understand and enjoy their local area - rather than simply be about/made in the area.

Ofcom should really have recognised the distinction between programmes produced in London or featuring something to do with London and genuine local programming. The acid test should be whether the 'local' programme was originally intended for an audience beyond London itself - if it was, then it shouldn't be allowed (although I'd be happy with exceptions for things like movies which reflect the history of the city).

There should be more stringent requirements for specific programmes dedicated to, say, local politics, topical debate, a 'going out guide', showcasing local bands etc. Plus a commitment to show travel and weather information at breakfast time, if not actual news.

If there were enough prescribed slots like that at decent times - with no scope for passing off an episode of The Thick Of It as the politics slot, for example - I'd be happy for the rest of the schedule to be completely up to the broadcaster.

Better to have a channel that shows a good mix of quality, truly local output and non-local entertainment than one that's full of rubbish with a tenuous local connection.

A slide with the status of the Tube lines accompanied by some test card music would be a more effective use of London Live's airtime between 6 and 9 in the morning than anything they currently show in that slot.
Last edited by mark on 14 April 2016 12:05pm - 2 times in total
I think the idea of wholly local programmed station with all locally relevant programmes is a lofty idea, but financially its just not feasible. To be realistic showing local bands or a badly produced documentary about pensioner bee keepers in a time slot when most people will be watching Bake Off or The Voice is silly. I think the idea of what local tv actually is has to be re-examined. For it to survive it has to be financially viable. Commercial local tv survives on ad revenue and the ad rate is typically tied to viewers. So whilst Im not suggesting sinking to air garbage tv. There must be some populist programming to bring in viewers to shore up the financial resources of the station.

On large scale think about the way the Canadian tv industry operates. They simsub US programmes. But the "Canadian OFCOM" CTRC requires there to be a PERCENTAGE of Canadian content. That way the Canadian or "localness" of the station/channel exists but financially they are able to mount their own productions on the back of the ad revenue they generate from the US simsubbed programmes. For example GLOBAL will air the US version of Big Brother and Survivor but they also were able to mount a Canadian version of Big Brother, etc or other "local" productions. Whilst Im not say the local stations will undertake local version of national programmes, but if they were able to create of viewable prime/peak time schedule, the locally produced programmes might be of better quality and be a little more ambitious in scope.
mark Founding member
I think you're right. I'd really like to see Ofcom impose this kind of schedule, at least for stations in big cities - with more latitude for broadcasters to show non-local programmes in exchange for a binding commitment to decent local output...

0530: Morning commuter information
Real-time travel and weather graphics, plus music to get you moving.
0900-1200: Non-local programming
1200: Local news
1230: Local lifestyle slot (repeated from previous evening)
1300-1700: Non-local programming
1700: Local news (live)
With travel ticker for the rush hour
1800: Nightly entertainment programme (live)
What’s happening tonight, with live performances
1830: Local culture slot (pre-recorded)
Different theme each weeknight – eg theatre, music, comedy
1900: Local news (live)
1930: Local lifestyle slot (pre-recorded)
Different theme each weeknight – eg food, shopping, sports
2000-2200: Non-local programming
2200: Local news (can be a repeat of the 7pm bulletin but must be updated with breaking news)
2230: Local discussion or analysis (pre-recorded)
Different themes including politics, transport, health
2300-0530: Non-local programming

So 8.5 hours of local output a day - only 5 of which would need to be ‘produced’ and, of that, only 2.5 would need to be live. Plus 3.5 hours of automated on-screen information at breakfast.

That would leave 15.5 hours a day (including 2 in primetime) for the broadcaster to fill with any acquired programming or repeats they like, with no need to for this to have a local connection. This would give them the opportunity to use non-local shows to attract audiences and create strong lead-ins for local programmes.

This might even start to make these prominent EPG slots attractive to some of the bigger broadcasters like Viacom, who'd be able to show programmes they already own in the non-local slots, outsource the news output to ITN, and use their existing infrastructure for things like sales and transmission.
For non-local programming read 'teleshopping'

Without wanting to roam into Fantasy Scheduling territory, I would say your local evening news only needs to be half an hour from 17:30 perhaps but with the automated news/weather/travel information like in the morning from 16:00.

I'm not sure anyone working in Local TV would be comfortable with a schedule imposed by OfCom, you would need an ITV style networking agreement for that to work.
Last edited by dvboy on 14 April 2016 4:48pm - 2 times in total
And teleshopping during your prime/peak time schedule wouldnt work, as it will only serve to degrade the "image" of the station. So i wouldnt think that teleshopping would be a good idea at all.

Use the acquired/syndicated programming to shore-up the local production quality. Like the Canadian CTRC, keep a tight lead on the amount of local programming shown so that the station fulfills its remit. CTRC takes this issue very serious and splits hairs over the Canadian-ness of programmes. Though they do lean heavily toward imports during prime/peak does allow money for them to mount very good local productions and very good national news services on GLOBAL and CTV.

Its not a even comparison, but if you put the Canadian networks in the same category as the UK Locals stations and the US networks next to the UK networks. The UK Locals/Canadian Nets are both are at a disadvantage. You kinda have to see where you make revenue in the space you are allotted. Hence the Canadian (UK-irrelvant) simsub rule...but Canadian/local content rule could certainly work. And the Canadian channels have succeed under this system, though they arent without problems.

And I dont think the idea OFCOM mandating a schedule would work either, of course that should be left up to the station. If they schedule the station wrong, thats their fault. But mandated PERCENTAGE of local programming certainly should be within OFCOM'S realm. But the hypothetical schedule above certainly makes more sense then the Pensioner Knitting Hour or lets Talk Cats in Prime/Peak.... aint working.
Last edited by Mouseboy33 on 14 April 2016 5:15pm - 2 times in total
mark Founding member
I agree that an Ofcom-imposed local schedule might not be workable - but they could certainly earmark certain blocks of the schedule for local output (no different from what they currently do for local commercial radio), and specify quotas for local news and other types of programme (such as a 'daily half-hour programme dedicated to local arts and culture').

Of course, it would be hard to bring about these changes now the licences have been awarded. But, if any of the current stations go under, it would be great to see Ofcom re-advertise with a new model. Trim back the local programming to stuff that's genuinely useful, give the broadcasters free rein to show crowd-pleasing stuff outside of local hours, and you may just end up with channels that people actually want to watch!
And teleshopping during your prime/peak time schedule wouldnt work, as it will only serve to degrade the "image" of the station. So i wouldnt think that teleshopping would be a good idea at all.

What I meant was that if you specify non-local programming in certain slots, that's what you're going to end up with, particularly in daytime and overnight.

Do any normal viewers really like teleshopping (I don't count TV Forumers with their fascination for bid tv normal viewers)
dvboy posted:
And teleshopping during your prime/peak time schedule wouldnt work, as it will only serve to degrade the "image" of the station. So i wouldnt think that teleshopping would be a good idea at all.

What I meant was that if you specify non-local programming in certain slots, that's what you're going to end up with, particularly in daytime and overnight.

Do any normal viewers really like teleshopping (I don't count TV Forumers with their fascination for bid tv normal viewers)

I don't think anybody actually likes teleshopping of any kind. At best it provokes a kind of curiosity that's normally only done by drivers rubbernecking a car crash. At worst, it's just painful.

Newer posts