That's TV moves to regional hubs in latest local TV shake-up

Local TV is to officially become less local in parts of England and Scotland, following Ofcom's approval to create regional hubs for That's TV.

In a move that mirrors recent developments in the commercial radio industry, regional hubs will provide local news across a number of local channels, broadcast on either Freeview channel 7 or 8, depending on the region.

Following the approval,

  • That's TV's York hub will provide news for stations serving East Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire as well as the city of York.
  • The broadcaster's Norwich service will come from its Cambridge hub.
  • Across southern England, local channels for Basingstoke, Guildford, Oxford, Reading and Southampton will come from Salisbury.
  • Carlisle's local channel will be steered from That's TV's Manchester hub, alongside the service for Preston and Blackpool.
  • That's TV Scotland is to be consolidated to two bases - Edinburgh is the main production base and Glasgow the studio base.

The proposal is designed to support the efficient operation of That’s TV’s local news services, including by maintaining at least one physical premises in each region.

However, the broadcaster's move to fewer studio bases appears to have been expedited after an investigation by Buzzfeed discovered how staff were being exploited by That's TV, which worked with colleges and universities to recruit staff, and in some cases were hosted on premises owned by these institutions. Queen Mary College in Basingstoke asked That's TV to leave the college last year, after the allegations made by Buzzfeed went public, with other institutions breaking links, forcing the broadcaster to look for a new solution. 

Ofcom said it didn't think it would result in a difference in local content received by viewers. In fact, many viewers have reported in the past months that local news on That's TV has already frequently included reports from locations outside the area of the station.