Sunderland to take lead in local TV revolution

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SUNDERLAND University is to help launch a new local television network.

The national Channel 6 network, is a new multimedia platform set up to serve local communities across the UK on TV and online.

It has signed an agreement with the university to forge links between the two and to see how students can feed into the new channel.

Although the owner of the network has not yet been announced, Channel 6 is building partnerships in preparation for its launch.

At its heart are local services backed by a new national channel, all funded by advertising.

Launching in early 2013, with 39 local affiliate channels up and running by 2016, Channel 6 will cover at least 80 per cent of UK homes on Freeview, 11.5million homes by satellite – Freesat and Sky – and 3.5million homes with cable, totaling 92 per cent of the country, as well as being broadcast online.

Graeme Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at the University of Sunderland, said: “We were early supporters of the Channel 6 model and are looking forward to exploring how the best use can be made of our exceptional facilities and well-trained students.

“Real-world experience for our students is a key aspect of our degree and postgraduate programmes.”

Richard Horwood, chief executive of Channel 6, said: “Universities like Sunderland and Cardiff and the Skillset Media Academies have state-of-the-art studios and production facilities, highly motivated students, and well-qualified graduates. Many of them are already in the forefront of developing plans for local TV in their areas.

“They are key local partners and we are looking forward to collaborating with them.

“We are also talking to other institutions and welcome interest from any media school keen to get involved. Over the next few months we will be sitting down with our partner colleges and universities to discuss in detail how we can collaborate most effectively.

“We’ll be looking at issues like access to studios, production, and post-production facilities, providing internships for undergraduates and jobs for graduates, maybe even setting up our local affiliates on campus.

“Depending on the business model we agree, our partner universities could participate directly in the profitability of the local affiliate.”

The local affiliates will be backed by a new national network that broadcasts 24/7.

When the local affiliate is not opting out with its own programming, or where there is no local station, viewers will be able to view national programming.