LondonTV chief executive Richard Horwood

Londoners want their own TV station, streetlife.com’s TV6 poll finds

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
11.05 AM

Nine out of 10 people who live in London want a dedicated TV station for the capital, according to a survey of 40,000 users by streetlife.com.

The survey has been carried out earlier this month for the Channel 6 Consortium which is bidding for the London franchise being announced by the government next month.

Ninety percent of 875 respondents from the 40,000 streetlife.com users in London said they were proud to live in London, and 87 percent said they thought London should have its own dedicated TV station.

Streetlife.com is the fast-growing local social network which is partnered with Archant London’s newspapers, magazines and websites.

Commenting on this overwhelming finding, Richard Horwood, chief executive of Channel 6, said: “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 majority of streetlife.com London users 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 users say their sense of community has increased since joining streetlife.com, and three-quarters 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 - and has strategic partnerships with Sony Pictures Television, streetlife.com, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Creative Skillset.

More than 75,000 people in 320 communities across England currently use the local social network streelife.com, with around 1,500 new users joining weekly. Find out more and join the conversation at www.streetlife.com.