STV’s first local television channel, STV Glasgow, will launch on Monday evening marking a £1m investment into local broadcast services.
STV secured the licence for local TV services for Glasgow and Edinburgh in 2013, and the Glasgow launch comes ahead of Edinburgh’s, which is expected in January 2014.
The station will launch with the broadcast of flagship programme The Riverside Show, and according to STV director of broadcasting Bobby Hain, the broadcaster has an “ambitious” aim of reaching one million people for a target of at least 10 minutes per day by 2016.
“This is a long game for us,” he told The Drum. “We have a long history of engaging with local audiences around different parts of Scotland and we expect our city TV services to reach one million people by 2016, and the target viewing per day is 10 minutes. That’s a sizeable audience and it will take us some time to get there.”
London Live – part of the same company as the London Evening Standard and Independent titles - has been the most high-profile venture into local TV recently after launching in April, although it has so far struggled to pull in strong viewing figures.
However, Hain said that local TV is a long term investment that requires time to build a relationship with its target audience.
“This is a completely different kind of television service, and I think the important thing is we build a relationship with viewers in Glasgow to start with and then as we add Edinburgh into the mix from early next year, again we really tailor a whole TV station for a particular city.
“We do think it will take time to build the audience but we’ve laid out a very clear, and I think ambitious, target. We’re giving ourselves a couple of years to make the connection.”
STV’s recent investment into local services included the launch of a series of apps last year for Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the roll out of a network of STV Local websites. The new local channel will be available online as well as Freeview, Sky and Virgin.
Hain added that the station had been “well received” commercially and had attracted advertisers previously unknown in TV advertising.
“We sold out our first couple of weeks and that’s been hugely encouraging for us,” he said. “I think we will now see new advertisers, we’ll see new commercials and we welcome new sponsors and partners. A lot of our launch partners and clients are new to television, so that’s very encouraging.”
The broadcaster has a team of 25 dedicated staff working on the channel, as well as pulling in staff and resources from the core STV channel to build the service.