BBC shot

The BBC will provide 'capital funding for the development of infrastructure, and on-going funding to the end of the licence fee period for the acquisition of content'

Credit: By Coffee Lover on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The BBC confirmed more details today of its plan to purchase up to £5 million of news content a year from companies running local television services and holding "the relevant licences".

A number of statements were issued today by Ofcom, the BBC Trust and the BBC Executive, relating to developments in the planned new local television network.

The BBC stated that as part of its "active role in supporting" the new services, as outlined in the 2010 licence fee settlement, it will be providing "capital funding for the development of infrastructure, and on-going funding to the end of the licence fee period for the acquisition of content".

"This will help support the continued existence of a plurality of news providers at all levels of the UK," the broadcaster added.

"We believe plurality of news is important, and are keen to support the launch of local TV by agreeing to acquire content in the first few years."

The BBC outlined a number of objectives as part of its "model for content acquisition", adding that content must be "suitable for inclusion in a UK public service and the price that represents value for money".

"The BBC will select from the available material produced by licensees to meet its editorial needs.

"It will require third party exclusivity over acquired content within the UK if the content is used on its public services."

It highlighted that the BBC "will not be involved in the selection of L-DTPS licensees as this will be carried out by Ofcom under the proposed licensing process."

Today Ofcom opened applications for the 21 "initial" local TV channels to be launched, as the BBC Trust also confirmed its commitment to providing £25 million for the new local television network.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom is also inviting applications to run the multiplex which will broadcast the channels, described as "a discrete amount of spectrum used for broadcasting over digital terrestrial TV (DTT)".

According to a release from Ofcom "as well as broadcasting on DTT, local TV channels may choose to offer their services on satellite, cable and online".

"The multiplex operator will be required to cover all of the areas above and to propose which areas additionally to cover; they can select from 44 other areas where coverage is technically possible or make a case for other areas to be added."

The 21 "initial areas" which have been selected for the local TV channels include: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton and Swansea.

The BBC Trust also issued a statement today to say it is "confirming its approach to providing the £25 million contribution" for the "establishment of the local multiplex distribution network", as was part of the BBC licence fee settlement.

"The BBC's funding will be available to the local multiplex licensee for the period from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017," the Trust confirmed today.

"Although the local multiplex licensee will be expected to have in place plans that sustain the operation of the multiplex beyond 31 March 2017, no BBC funding will be allocated beyond this date."

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