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Local TV bidder secures funding boost

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Television and remote

© Rex Features

Element TV has secured fresh investment to boost its bid to take on culture secretary Jeremy Hunt's new national channel for delivering local TV services.

The organisation, which submitted a formal expression of interest to Hunt's Department for Culture, Media and Sport on March 1, has announced a successful round of funding with Virgo Capital.

The Element TV management team comprises of veterans of the TV, technology and media industries, including senior experience at Sail TV, VBS.tv, City Channel Ireland, Chellozone, Chello Central Europe, Channel M, Channel 6 (Ireland), TV3 (Ireland) and the Guardian Media Group (GMG).

The group's plans for the local TV channel revolve around securing a low-cost model, while also ensuring that viewers "are never more than 30 minutes away from a news bulletin".

"What interests us is that the low-cost model is very impressive and all the technology is proven and deployed already," said Walter Hobbs, managing director of Virgo Capital.

"The Element proposition makes it affordable for local businesses to advertise on television and the commissioned in-house research shows a pent-up demand for affordable advertising."

Jamie Conway, the chief executive of Element TV, added: "The cost efficiencies we're seeing with our technology partners means the production values and quality, live up to the British public's expectations without the massive overheads."

Element TV intends to launch a proof-of-concept channel in the near future, featuring pilots of local content from around the UK to demonstrate the achievable production quality.

"The key to this proof-of-concept will be proving to detractors that low cost does not mean low production values," said David McCormack, Element TV's director of operations.

Rival bidders for the local TV network include a joint proposal from STV and Channel 6, along with Greg Dyke's Local Television Network and the Local6 group, backed by former Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson.

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