What is local TV?

March 2nd, 2011

Community purists fear just another national channel while others are sceptical of plan’s commercial viability, is the byline of an article about the desire of Jeremy Hunt and others to create local TV in the UK.

I don’t think you need to be a community purist – to see the flawed thinking. Reading through the article, of the usual players and companies lining up to bid for local TV franchises, with the same old, same old business models I found myself, making observations and asking all sorts of questions:

  • When we are connected up to and across each other, when we can get what we need for each other, why do we need more of what we don’t need?
  • A people will only be free when THEY control their own communications – Frantz Fanon
  • Markets are conversations, and markets thrive through, commercial trading, knowledge and information exchange and entertainment, hence the role of the creation of a thriving market place is not about shoving stuff down tubes. Its not one way, and reality of the role of producer and consumer has collapsed.
  • Those companies that use revenue sharing to open up, stimulate, motivate and create a rich diverse eco-system are those that are commercially thriving: GrowVC, Qustodian, Android, NTTDoCoMo, Threadless,  are but 5 examples. So why is local TV any different?
  • Ask who uses a search engine = 99%? and what are we searching for? Knowledge and information. And we judge the quality of that knowledge and information by its ability for us to take and make decisions and transactions, right now, in 5mins time, this afternoon, tomorrow – we live in the intention economy.
  • Where is mobile in all this – because when we have a mobile penetration of 120%+ in the UK but millions cant get in online, surely local commercial communications, must be supported by mobile services? Qustodian certainly believes so, hence their growing relationship with Atletico Madrid. Because local is community – community is local. But this truth does not serve the needs of national media players.

So how on earth do media companies believe they can fund their business models out of the institutional failure of paid for push advertising? The article quotes Pat Loughrey, former BBC director of nations and regions, says: “It’s arse about face. It would be a pity and perverse if what is created a just another metropolitan-dominated TV service, in which the UK is only viewed through national perspective and serving national advertisers.”

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