UK local TV operator calls in administrators

Birmingham’s City TV has become the first of the UK’s new local TV services to collapse after the company behind it appointed administrators to try to find a buyer for its local TV licence.

Local player BLTV secured a licence to operate a TV service from regulator Ofcom in November 2012, following the initiative of former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to award new digital-terrestrial licences to create a network of local services on the US model.

BLTV’s administrator, Duff & Phelps, has approached a number of other local licence holders who may be interested in taking over the Birmingham licence and who believe they can win Ofcom’s approval.

The licence is the station’s only significant asset. BLTV has no studio premises or broadcast equipment and failed to meet a commitment to launch a service between Easter and June of last year.

Made Television, led by former BSkyB and Top Up TV co-founder Ian West, which holds a number of other local TV licences, expressed an interest in launching a service in Birmingham last month after Selly Oak Labour MP Steve McCabe tabled a number of parliamentary questions about the station.