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First local Freeview carriage deal agreed

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Canis Media has announced the UK's first local Freeview channel distribution deal for the launch of Movies4Men in Greater Manchester, potentially providing a way forward for local TV in the UK.

BARB rated channel Movies4Men, owned and managed by Dolphin Broadcast Services, went live on Freeview channel number 201 in Manchester on May 10, utilising Guardian Media Group's local digital terrestrial TV multiplex in the region.

GMG, owner of North West local TV station Channel M, appointed Canis to market the spare capacity on its local Freeview platform, which reaches an estimated 1.2m homes in the Greater Manchester area.

The launch of Movies4Men was supported by an airtime marketing campaign on GMG Radio's Real, Smooth and Rock Radio stations in the North West region.

Fergus Lawson, managing director of channel management firm Canis Media, said that the Freeview distribution deal could show the way forward for local TV services in the UK.

"Dolphin TV's Broadcast subsidiary has taken advantage of an exciting opportunity to acquire and test regional Freeview distribution in the UK," said Lawson.

"National Freeview channels can cost millions of pounds a year, so this is an inexpensive and more targeted way to reach Freeview homes. This is the first local Freeview distribution deal and could show the way for other broadcasters."

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt wants to create a new national television channel on Freeview for hosting local TV services around the UK.

However, reports emerged this month suggesting that Hunt's plans could be delayed or even scrapped, despite numerous groups submitting bids to provide the network.

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