LONDON--()--In a survey of streetlife.com’s 40,000 London users, about 9 out of 101 are proud to live in London and want a dedicated London TV station.
“This comprehensively gives the lie to those cynical national media pundits who constantly assert that there’s no public demand for local TV.”
This was one of the striking findings by a survey this month for the Channel 6 Consortium which is bidding for the London TV franchise due to be awarded next month. The survey was carried out by streetlife.com, the fast-growing local social network, of those of their users who live in London.
Commenting on this overwhelming finding, Richard Horwood, Chief Executive of Channel 6, said: “This comprehensively gives the lie to those cynical national media pundits who constantly assert that there’s no public demand for local TV.”
Moreover, even streetlife.com’s London users – being by definition Londoners especially interested in their immediate neighbourhoods – are evenly split between identifying themselves primarily as Londoners, and those who associate mainly with their local neighbourhoods.2
Says Horwood: “I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard self-appointed experts casually assert that Londoners don’t identify with London as whole, supposedly attaching themselves only to their neighbourhoods like Battersea or Bow. I’m a Londoner, and of course I love my immediate neighbourhood otherwise I wouldn’t live there. But, like every other Londoner I know, it’s London that I happily claim as home when anyone from outside London asks. And it’s being a Londoner – with all the overtones of Capital-city living – that helps define me.”
Even more significantly from the point of view of local democracy, the majority3 of streetlife.com London users (who overwhelmingly4 care about what their local councillors do) admit they don’t actually know what their councillors do, and just assume they do a good job.
Horwood comments: “That’s why improving local media is so important, especially public service broadcast local media, to explain what’s happening in their cities to those who may not go out of their way to find out about it, but want to know about it nonetheless. It’s about local democracy. Voting for local councillors is pointless if we don’t know what they’re doing. Unlike the snippets of regional news on BBC 1 and ITV1, our ‘LondonTV’ station has committed to broadcast thousands of hours a year to explore London’s happenings and issues. That compares to only about 400 hours on BBC1, and even less on ITV1. Presenting London to Londoners, helping them enjoy and understand their city, addressing its problems and celebrating their achievements, is what LondonTV will be all about.”
Matt Boyes, Founder and CEO of streetlife.com, added: “Our research has consistently shown that focused local media (of which streetlife.com and LondonTV are prime examples) can positively impact people’s perceptions of their local area, and increase engagement and awareness of what’s happening in their wider community. Two-thirds of our London users5 say their sense of community has increased since joining streetlife.com, and three-quarters6 have had more contact with local people as a result. We’re supporting the Channel 6 ‘LondonTV’ bid as we’re sure it will not only succeed as a TV channel, but will further enhance Londoners’ community spirit.”
The Channel 6 Consortium includes London’s three main local newspaper groups – Archant, Tindle and Trinity Mirror – with their hundreds of local journalists across their scores of London newspapers, magazines and websites; and has strategic partnerships with Sony Pictures Television (for world class entertainment programming and TV ad sales); streetlife.com (for engagement with London’s local communities); the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (to collaborate with the thousands of London voluntary and community groups in their membership); and Creative Skillset (to work with their media academies across the Capital).
1 90% of 875 respondents from the 40,000 streetlife.com users living in London surveyed between 10th and 13th January 2013 said they were proud to live in London, and 87% said they thought London should have its own dedicated TV station.
2 44% identified primarily with London, and 42% with their neighbourhood. 14% identified with their boroughs.
Notes to Editors:
About the Channel 6 Consortium
The Channel 6 Consortium (www.london-tv.co.uk) has been formed by London’s local newspaper groups, in partnership with Richard Horwood and his top TV management team, Sony Pictures Television, streetlife.com, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Creative Skillset and others, to bid for the London TV franchise. The executive team has particular expertise and a long-standing interest in local television, as well as in national TV channels. The local media groups – Archant, Tindle and Trinity Mirror – between them publish scores of local titles covering the length and breadth of London. (See below for more information about the publishers and the other corporate members of the Consortium.)
Based in London – and indeed unabashed fans of London – the Consortium recognises that London is undoubtedly not only capable of commercially sustaining its own TV station, but also deserving of it as one of the greatest cities on the planet. So as long ago as September 2011, just a few days after the Government finished its consultation on the structure for local TV, Channel 6 announced its intention to bid for the London franchise – the first bidder to do so. Determined and passionate about the importance of local journalism to local democracy, the Consortium is better connected into London’s diverse communities than any other bidder could be; is expert in both local journalism and making commercial broadcast TV; and has genuine depth and breadth of broadcast and commercial experience on its team.
streetlife.com, the local social network, has a simple aim: to help people across Britain make the most of where they live by connecting and sharing with their neighbours. The website provides a free and easy place for residents, community groups, local government representatives and businesses to share practical information, advice, skills and resources.
The streetlife.com team believes that better connected neighbours build stronger communities, and that digital media has a key role to play in bringing together people with busy routines or reduced mobility, to discuss and improve the local issues they care about.
Main uses of the site include:
- discussing nearby news, crime, planning proposals and public services
- finding locals with common interests, organising and attending social groups and events
- sharing skills and belonging with neighbours, from hedge-trimmers to spreadsheet skills
- recommending and discovering local businesses and tradespeople
- promoting, campaigning and volunteering for community projects and local causes
Over 75,000 people in 320 communities across England currently use the local social network, with around 1,500 new users joining weekly. Find out more and join the conversation at www.streetlife.com.