At a time when channels, such as BBC3, are migrating to online only platforms – how will a brand new TV channel fare in the battle for viewers? I went along to meet London Live, the station that will occupy the prestigious spot on Freeview channel 8 to find out.
I was keen to find out what would make this channel different from the 633 others currently available to UK viewers at the touch of their Sky remote control. Words like “fresh” and “young” were banded around as you might expect a channel targeted at 16-34 year olds would, but eventually Jonathan Boseley, Head of Programming, got down to the details. He explained that: “For me TV has become very formulated, very formatted and it feels like the life has been sucked out of it.
“What we’re trying to do is bring the free-flowing nature of digital content to the TV environment, to bring something a little more exciting and vibrant, whilst also bringing new talent to the fore.”
When the Head of News, Vikki Cook, started to speak my PR-ears pricked up in anticipation. She told the eager audience that the channel would host an impressive five and a half hours of news programming every day, including a three-hour breakfast show along with hourly news bulletins.
Cook assured us that the news coverage on London Live wouldn’t only be doom and gloom. The channel is looking to bring a positive angle, including plenty of good news, Cook confirmed, “Our news has to maintain the same tone as the rest of the channel, we don’t hit pause and say ‘now it’s time for the serious news’ the content has to flow. I want us to have a really conversational approach.”
Top five tips for PRs selling in to London Live:
1. Find stories that are not West End-centric. London Live are unwavering in their aim to offer content from across the other 32 boroughs.Understand the channel’s voice.
2. The news team will be much more responsive to PRs who understand the tone, audience and ethos of London Live.
3. Include positive stories. The channel is on the look out for stories that will help them boost their output of optimistic news.
4. Keep press releases to the point. Cook was crystal clear in her assertion that emailing random, unfocussed press releases is not the way forward.
5. Only send them London news. It may seem obvious, but London Live won’t be interested in anything you send them about Cornwall.
In an industry that is increasingly focused on offering regional news that embraces every corner of the UK, London Live has the chance to focus exclusively on London news. The tone of the channel will be celebratory of London, showcasing the exciting new developments and talent of the city.
With a launch date of 31st March fast approaching, the pressure is on for the London Live team to pull everything together in time, and I for one will be looking forward to tuning in to see what they’ve come up with.