Earlier this year, the Evening Standard was awarded the rights to launch a new dedicated London TV channel. Shortly after the announcement, the doomsayers started breaking rank questioning the sustainability of such a venture and, perhaps more pertinently, querying whether hyperlocal television channels could survive outside the capital.
New research by Kantar Media, using the TNS London Omnibus, appraises the local London TV channel’s potential audience and sheds some light on what Londoners would want from a dedicated local TV channel.
With a reported launch due in early 2014, it seems that there is still some work to do in terms of generating awareness and getting people on board. Despite this the early signs are reasonably encouraging for the capital’s newest broadcaster in waiting.
The first task that London Live has on its hands is raising awareness levels. Only 19% of Londoners were aware of the forthcoming launch, though with 41% having used Evening Standard within the last week, it seems that London Live has the ideal promotional tools already in-house to help spread the message.
Despite the relatively muted awareness levels it seems that a market for a London-centric TV channel does exist. Indeed 47% of Londoners say that they would likely watch it on a regular basis.
Some further qualitative vox-pops suggest that there could also be interest in content which encourages viewers to interact either with the station (via social media) or with other Londoners. Early indications suggest that having the community help to build content could have some appeal.
The new channel is most likely to appeal to the 35+ age range, but it is still a relatively attractive advertising proposition both in terms of the reach and quality of the audience. With almost half the London population likely to tune in on a regular basis, the channel appeals across genders and has a notably affluent profile.
So it seems that the current blank canvas that is London Live has some potential so long as the content can fulfil the needs of Londoners.
The question then remains, what would Londoners want to see on a London centric TV channel? Perhaps predictably initial thoughts turn to the channel filling an information gap.
The most popular chosen content areas are quite functional with local weather (69%), local news (53%) and local travel content (50%) the topics that people were most interested in tuning in for.
However this does not necessarily rule out potential demand for more entertainment based content – though this would require additional concept testing to say confidently one way or the other. It would be interesting to revisit this once a little more information is available on the content.
Given that those who are most interested in the channel are working full time, it’s perhaps no real surprise that the most popular viewing time fits around the working day with notable spikes during the breakfast period and the early/late peak times.
Whether the hyperlocal TV offer is sustainable outside (or inside) the capital remains to be seen but, six months ahead of the launch, it looks like London Live has a healthy potential audience who are open to a new channel so long as the content and communication can be co-ordinated.
The research was commissioned by Kantar Media using TNS London Omnibus. This was run from 14th – 19th February 2013 and was conducted online. In total 1,012 interviews were conducted. The sample has been weighted to represent the adult population of London aged 16+.