Commercial breakdown 

21 March 2004

Apparently Portsmouth TV, the local RSL TV station for the Portsmouth area has been off air for the last couple of weeks whilst it has gone into “administrative receivership”, although it is currently in the process of changing owners and hopes to be back on air shortly. Meanwhile its sister station Southampton TV has soldiered on valiantly with a skeleton service consisting of mainly pre-recorded programmes despite the behind-the-scenes turmoil; no doubt possible because this particular venture is in partnership with Southampton Institute, though this weekend the service has been further reduced to showing non-stop QVC.

The relative failure of the MyTV Network (consisting of Portsmouth, Southampton and the proposed Bournemouth TV services) highlights the difficulties that these local TV stations face in trying to make a profit from a service that is at best watched by only a few thousand viewers; indeed the only truly successful local station at the moment seems to be Channel M, though Solent TV (serving the Isle of Wight) survives due to the fact that it’s a not-for-profit station.

Local television in general has an uphill struggle to attract viewers away from the big budget national productions provided by the major terrestrial channels, though the need for local and regional television is now greater than ever since ITV is now concentrating more on being a national broadcaster as opposed to a regional one. It seems clear that small local TV stations can only provide a small percentage of local and regional television, and again it looks as if the BBC will have to provide a service that has been more or less abandoned by a deregulated commercial television market.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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