Brighton and Hove’s new TV station claims that half its viewing area’s population are tuning in after conducting a street survey of 400 people.
Station bosses say the survey shows that 210,000 people a month are watching the channel, although they are remaining tight-lipped as to what questions were asked. Director Bill Smith says a Barb report showed that 5 million people tuned in to 11 stations in September.
Reports publicly available on the Barb website show that for September an average of 752,000 people a week and 134,000 a day are tuning in to the ten stations on the Local TV Macro Network, including Latest TV. Videos on the station’s YouTube channel typically get double figure views.
Mr Smith also said the station, which has access to BBC funding in return for providing it with footage, was breaking even commercially. He said: “The local TV revolution is well and truly under way.
“Throughout Brighton, Hove and Worthing the channel is reaching many people and organisations, and more importantly giving them a voice on television.
“We cover issues that previously went under the radar and, from the feedback we’ve had so far, it’s going down a storm.”
The figures were released in the same week that Mr Smith hit back at comments by Brighton-based media commentator Roy Greenslade, who said that local TV was a “busted flush”.
Mr Greenslade was speaking in the wake of Norwich-based Mustard TV calling on local channels to get more BBC funding and for its programming requirements to be relaxed after that channel’s owners, Archant, revealed it had made losses of £657,000 last year.
He said: “The project is simply not worth bailing out and licence fee payers should not have to support stations so few people are watching.”
In an open letter published on Press Gazette, Mr Smith retorted: “The range of independent local TV channels operating under the Local TV Network banner is diverse and overall thriving, and there are a wealth of positive benefits arising from the establishment of these interesting and commercially viable companies which are being lost under a blanket of negative coverage from the larger and largely London-centric media.”
Among the most popular shows are the news, which broadcasts three bulletins a day as well as a live two hour Big News Show every weekday from 3pm to 5pm; the Guy Lloyd TV show, featuring the well-known radio DJ; and Albion Night, which focuses on all the action on and off the pitch at Brighton and Hove Albion.
As well as BBC South East, Latest TV’s footage has also been provided to other national and international broadcasters and media groups, such as ITN, Daily Mail, and CNN.
The Brighton team has also taken on the production of a weekly BBC programme called Digital Nation, featuring tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things across the UK.
Latest TV is part of an informal group of city TV stations that form the local TV network. There are now 20 channels on air – Cardiff, Nottingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Brighton, Southampton, Liverpool, Manchester, Tyne & Wear, Leeds, Bristol, Norwich, Lancashire, Grimsby, Birmingham, Sheffield, Oxford, Cambridge and Belfast.
The other nine stations included in the Local TV Macro Network on the Barb reports are Lincolnshire-based Estuary TV, Made in Bristol, Made in Cardiff, Made in Leeds, Made in Newcastle, Notts TV, NVTV Belfast, Sheffield Live TV and Bay TV Liverpool.
Figures from the 2011 census show the population of the area Latest TV covers, which includes Brighton and Hove, Adur and Worthing, is 400,000.