Ofcom proposals could change STV's channel 3 licence agreement to cover Southern Scotland
TV viewers in the south of Scotland may finally receive Scottish commercial television instead of English programming under new proposals being considered by Ofcom.
The media watchdog is considering introducing a new all-Scotland licence which would mean that viewers in the south of the country would receive STV instead of the ITV Border/Tyne Tees service.
This has long been an issue, with those living in the southern region of Scotland backed by their local MPs in calling for a change to how they are served by commercial television broadcasting within the region.
The proposals have been set out within the Channel 3 and Channel 5 proposed programming obligations document with Ofcom seeking comments from the public after Maria Miller, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport announced her intention for renewal of the current public service broadcasting licences for the Channel 3 services held by ITV, STV and UTV and also Channel 5.
As well as the potential auction for a new all-Scotland licence, a dedicated regional service for viewers in the south of Scotland that includes national Scottish coverage could be introduced, or an amendment could be made to regional obligations within the Border region to include Scottish news.
A spokesperson for STV told The Drum: "We welcome the start of the consultation process on licence renewal and look forward to actively engaging with Ofcom throughout. The Channel 3 licence renewal process will include a decision from Ofcom on proposed amends to regional programming for the Border region and if it is determined that the best option is a commercial agreement between STV and ITV we are happy to enter into these discussions."
Last month, STV won the licences to run the Government’s Local TV schemes across Glasgow and Edinburgh, despite an outcry from voices in the south of Scotland claiming that the central belt of Scotland was already well provided for.