Local TV channels operated by That’s TV officially become general entertainment, rather than news services following regulatory approval.
That’s TV has previously held local TV licences with a specific programme commitment to provide a news-based service. This is in contrast with the current output of each local channel.
In the past year, That’s TV has reduced local programmes in favour of a single networked schedule. A 15 minute news bulletin is currently being broadcast at 6pm. Local news is also broadcast in a loop between 4am and 6am. Music videos from the 1970s and 1980s are shown in the afternoon and evening. Teleshopping is broadcast in the morning across all of its channels.
The change in programme requirements follows a number of requests made by That’s TV to Ofcom. That’s TV said it wanted some consistency across its various local TV services. Some programme obligations it inherited when it took over local TV services in Cambridge and Scotland have also been removed.
Most of That’s TV licences have been harmonised to include the following six commitments. Small variations between services still exist.
- Reflect the tastes, interests and concerns of people living or working in and around the Licensed Area;
- Include a core local news service relevant to the Licensed Area. This includes sub-genres such as weather, current affairs, sport, features and information;
- Sometimes reflect matters of general interest such as music, arts, culture and entertainment;
- Offer opportunities for members of the community to become involved in and / or feature in content or raise issues;
- Reflect diversity in the community; and
- Cover the voluntary / charity sector
Ofcom said that after careful deliberation, its “Decision-makers” concluded that “the overall character of each of the services would still be maintained following the requested variations. Accordingly, the Decision-makers decided that the requested variations to the licences would in each case not constitute a departure from the character of the service, and that each request should be granted.”
That’s TV operates local channels in Anglia, Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Scotland and southern England. It also broadcasts a single service in Wales, covering Swansea. Depending on location, That’s TV is available on Freeview channel 7 or 8.
Eric Archer | RXTV Newsdesk