Local television licences will be extended in the United Kingdom. Local television services were launched in the United Kingdom in 2013. 34 licences, generally operating at a town or city level, were due to expire in 2025. Following a government consultation, the licences will be extended, subject to a review by the regulator of their long-term plans to remain relevant to their areas.
The local television services are available in areas across the United Kingdom, including major cities like London, Cardiff, and Edinburgh, as well as others including Oxford and Cambridge, and areas like Maidstone and Reading. Many have struggled to meet their quotas for original local programming.
Licences for 34 local television services, generally available on channel 7 or 8 on Freeview digital terrestrial television, were due to expire in November 2025.
20 of the licences are held by That’s TV Broadcasting and a further 8 are held by Local TV Limited. They therefore control over 80% of the shares in the joint multiplex operator known as Comux.
A consultation suggested that industry participants and members of the public supported the renewal of individual local television licences until 2034.
There were 37 responses to the consultation, including current licence holders, with 12 from members of the public.
The government says it will make an order to implement the renewal of the local television multiplex licence and 34 individual local television service licences.
The communications regulator Ofcom will review the long-term plans of each station on how it seeks to meet its daily programming quota and produced distinct shows that are relevant to their area.
Local television stations that receive approval to renew their licence will continue to benefit from a prominent position in regulated electronic programme guides.
Should current providers decide not to reapply or if Ofcom does not approve a renewal, a competitive relicensing process will be launched.
“Despite changing technology and shifting viewing habits, people across the country tune into their local TV providers for trusted local news and distinct programming,” said Media Minister Julia Lopez. “We are helping the sector to continue delivering for audiences, supporting local journalism and fostering community pride, in the years to come.”