Channel 6 consortium of local press bids for new ‘LondonTV’ franchise

A formal bid for the ‘LondonTV’ franchise has now been submitted by Richard Horwood and his Channel 6 Consortium formed by three local newspaper groups including Archant, which publishes the Docklands & East London Advertiser.

The newspaper groups between them run local weeklies throughout 28 of the 32 London boroughs, which Horwood believes makes the Channel 6 bid work on every level of London society.

“Our bid builds on unique local resources and connections,” he said. “This is the perfect combination for the government’s TV objectives for London.”

The consortium takes in London’s ‘Big Three’ local press groups, Archant, Trinity Mirror and Tindle.

Archant has a strong presence across east, west, north-west, south-west and south-east London. Its flagship press in east London includes the East London Advertiser in Tower Hamlets which first appeared in 1866 and the Hackney Gazette going back to 1864, as well as the Recorder and Post series in Newham, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Havering. Its north London titles include the Ham & High and the Islington Gazette.

Involving the local press makes the consortium strongly connected to communities, their businesses and their stories—but Horwood believes a prominent listing on Freeview and other carriers is “a double-edged sword.”

He explained: “Being next to popular entertainment channels will cast an unforgiving spotlight on London’s TV channel.

Most Read

“So it needs to look like it belongs there from Day 1, which is what LondonTV has been designed to do—the difference between a channel just about London and a channel worthy of London.”

The channel would support local journalism hold those in authority to account and help the audience understand why it’s important to vote for councillors, London Assembly Members and London’s MPs.

Archant Chief Executive Adrian Jeakings said: “We have real insight with our newspaper, magazine and digital reach across London into the communities at the heart of Europe’s most vibrant capital.”

Horwood believes recruiting London’s local press, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and having an advisory board to make sure the channel reflects diverse communities, cultures and interest groups would make LondonTV an original service—as he puts it, “television that London deserves.”