Independent producers and local tv

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Policy objective

  1. The Government wants the local TV framework to be successful. In particular, it wants to attract the largest number of bidders possible and to provide the opportunity for different bidders to compete on an equal footing.

  1. Because the Government wants local TV to succeed in the long-term, it wants to remove unnecessary burdens which would be imposed on local TV providers where possible.

  1. There is logic in dealing with the two issues highlighted here together. The current independent production quota system functions by defining the concept of an independent producer by reference to (among other considerations) the size of the stake it can hold in any broadcaster. If this quota obligation is dis-applied in relation to local TV broadcasters, then there is an argument to also remove the ownership ceiling which prevents independent producers from owning a local TV service without losing their independent status. It seems right that there should be a balance between, on the one hand, saying that independent producers in the UK will not be able to take advantage of the potential revenues which a quota on local TV broadcasters would provide and, on the other, saying that independent producers may have a larger – or indeed, a total – share in a local television broadcaster without losing their independent status. It would be disproportionate to dis-apply the quota yet continue to maintain a barrier preventing independent producers from holding a local TV broadcast service licence.

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