I was interested to see that a new local TV station, Made In Leeds, has set up shop not too far from my constituency office.
Any media outlet that can offer a genuinely independent, local perspective is very welcome. But when local TV stations have popped up in Yorkshire at various times over the past twenty years, they have tended to disappear again fairly quickly.
Establishing a local TV station is an expensive business, and to recoup their setup costs, new broadcasters are heavily depend on advertising funding. The problem is that local companies tend not to be interested in buying advertising on a channel until that channel has a reasonable-sized audience — but without advertising funding, it’s hard to make or buy good quality programming, so audiences tend to switch off and so advertising looks even less appealing. Many local TV stations have folded only a few months after going live, unable to escape this vicious cycle.
On the other hand, Made In Leeds is part of a wider regional network of Made TV stations — so it might be better placed than others to overcome the challenges of startup and become a success. I certainly hope so.