I’ll be honest, I’ve always been sceptical about the chances of success of local TV. Years earlier, when proposals were first announced, my boss remarked that it was fun in the 70s but it wouldn’t work now.
The business model revealed by City TV just never seemed to stack up. I recall a predicted ad income in the several millions bandied around; not dissimilar to the entire ad income of current commercial telly and radio stations in the region.
It seemed either incredibly ambitious to assume a young upstart could sway so much cash away from tried-and-trusted media brands, or naive to assume there are millions of pounds of untapped advertising potential in the city.
City TV, which has not yet launched, has certainly had a colourful journey so far. Rumours, reported in this newspaper, still abound about its struggles to finance itself. But there is a bigger challenge to overcome.
If City TV does – eventually – successfully launch, who’ll actually bother to watch?
I’m never keen to compare Birmingham’s potential to succeed based on anything that happens in the capital, but when it comes to local television it would be folly not to heed the first figures in for London Live – a spin-off of the London Evening Standard, bankrolled by Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev.
As Neil Midgley reports for Forbes.com: “Almost nobody is watching London Live.”
He continues: The figures are so close to zero on many occasions that they surely cannot accurately be measured. The breakfast show is averaging 2,400 viewers; the early evening show, just 4,000.
“This is a channel which, remember, boasted before its launch that it could reach over 4m homes and 9m viewers.”
How long before we admit that local TV just isn’t a thing?
David Kuczora is principal consultant at Clive Reeves PR and newspaper reviewer for Pete Morgan at Breakfast on BBC WM
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