Jeremy Hunt has proposed a new commercial TV channel aimed at local communities.
Hunt intends to see licences for local television services handed out before the end of 2012, and is hoping to launch between 10 to 15 by the end of 2015.
In order to stand a chance of success, Hunt has warned that it should sit near the first five channels on channel lists, as well as provide a mix of national and local content to make it attractive to advertisers.
The plans, set to be unveiled today at the Oxford Media Convention, will ask media companies to register their interest for the scheme, which aims to be “dedicated to the provision of local news and content”, according to Hunt.
A report by a Lazard investment banker Nicholas Shott suggested a network of 10 local TV services would have a cost of around £25m. Hunt plans to raise £5m through local advertising and £15m from national advertising.
Hunt has shown enthusiasm for bringing local programming to British TV since he took the role of culture secretary last year, his intention being to provide a service that will “sit alongside other public service broadcasters, offering a new voice for local communities”.