Ofcom has today (August 14) published the full list of 57 applicants for the advertised licences to run local TV services in 21 British towns and cities, along with the four applications for the multiplex operator that will oversee the dedicated local TV channel on Freeview.
This is part of culture secretary Jeremy Hunt's plan to revitalise the local TV sector to better serve local communities and provide an alternative news and information source to the BBC.
The Evening Standard newspaper has submitted a proposal to take on the prestigious London licence, including plans to launch a network called London Live.
However, the bid faces lots of competition, including a proposal from London8, a new local network that has partnered with ITN, the Press Association and Riverside Studios.
The Channel 6 Consortium, headed by former Trinity Mirror executive Richard Horwood, is also in the running, along with a proposal by Made in organisation.
Made Television, chaired by the co-founder of Top Up TV Ian West, has submitted bids in total for 11 licences across the UK. Each will be headed with 'Made In...' and then feature the place name, such as Made in London.
London is also one of the eight areas targeted by bids under the YourTV brand, a consortium of local TV operators chaired by Sir Michael Lyons.
"I have a long-standing commitment to any measures which improve the quality of life and economic strength of our regional cities," said Lyons in a statement in May.
"We also know that audiences want more high-quality local content. I'm confident local TV can play an important part on both fronts."
He added: "[YourTV's] emphasis on keeping costs down whilst offering a fresh approach to how local communities are engaged as active participants will make its offer compelling to both Ofcom and investors."
Alongside London, YourTV has also submitted proposals for the licences in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Blackpool & Preston, and Sheffield.
STV, the holder of the ITV Network licence in central Scotland, has teamed up with two Scottish universities to bid for the licences in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
However, STV is facing tough competition for the licences, including three rival proposals in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.
In some areas there is just one bidder, including Bristol, Brighton and Grimsby, but most places have got at least two parties vying for the licence. Rather curiously, two of three bids submitted in Oxford are both under the name Oxford8.
Despite the recent collapse of Guardian Media Group's Channel M in Manchester, the city has attracted five bidders in total, including YourTV Manchester, Made in Manchester, Metro8 Manchester, MCR TV and the Manchester News Channel.
The winning bidders will be offered highly valuable transmission on Freeview terrestrial television at the prominent position of channel 8 on the electronic programme guide (channel 48 in Scotland).
Ofcom said that licences will be awarded by "beauty contest" under the criteria set out by Hunt earlier in the year. It expects to make decisions on the successful applicants this autumn, with the first stations to come into force by 2015 at the latest.
The regulator has also today published the four bidders vying to become the special multiplex operator which will oversee the transmission architecture for the new local TV channel on Freeview.
Canis Media, the organisation which finds buyers for available channel slots on Sky, has submitted a proposal as expected, but there are also bids from Local TV Services, LMux Ltds and the Local TV Multiplex company.