Bay Tv

Ground-floor opportunities for NW investors offered by Bay TV

Bay TV Liverpool (BTVL) is seeking investors to back plans to make the station a ‘creative hub’ in online broadcasting.

BTVL launched its award-winning IPTV station www.baytvliverpool.com in 2011 and continues to deliver VOD programmes via the web and mobile devices.

In February 2013 Ofcom awarded the company a local television (L-DTPS) licence to broadcast to a potential audience of 2.2million adult viewers in the Liverpool city region and beyond.

Set to launch on Freeview Channel 8 and Virgin Media in the Liverpool city region in late spring this year, the station also plans to expand its operations to North and South Wales in 2015.

Now BTVL says it is inviting businesses and individuals to “back its fortunes and get in on the ground floor of a burgeoning broadcasting empire”.

BTVL ranks as the fourth-largest of the new network of 30-plus local stations that are springing-up in towns and cities all over the UK, as part of an initiative created by the DCMS and fostered by the BBC.

The company, led by CEO Chris Johnson and Director of Programmes Chris Kerr, who between them have decades of experience leading media and television companies, count a total of three stations in the “Bay TV family”: Liverpool; Bay TV Clwyd, based in Mold, North Wales; and Bay TV Swansea.

The pair also maintain an interest in launching Bay TV Gwynedd, despite questions raised by Ofcom about the commercial viability of a station based in Bangor reaching only 16,000 homes on Freeview.

Bay TV is headquartered in a purpose-built office and studios complex in Windsor Street, part of the wider creative quarter to the south of Liverpool city centre.

BTVL’s sister company Bay TV Clwyd holds the L-DTPS licence for Mold, North Wales, and the firm also has a stake in Bay TV Swansea, which landed a local TV licence in South Wales.

Following the Ofcom decision not to award the Bangor licence, the BTVL management team is stepping-up its campaign to stress the importance of combining broadcast TV with streaming and on-demand digital delivery of programmes and advertising.

The station’s CEO Chris Johnson outlined the opportunities that Bay TV is offering to a second wave of investors.

He said: “We are deeply committed to the concept of local TV and regard the advent of local stations on Freeview as a landmark event in a far-reaching revolution in broadcasting that will bring an utterly new dimension to UK broadcasting.

“It is also vital to understand the importance of cross-platform delivery, not only of content but information and commercial messages.

“The huge impact of local TV stations on Channel 8 cannot be underestimated and Bay TV Liverpool will increase its impact on the cultural and commercial life of the city region.

“But alongside our audience on Freeview and Virgin, we aim to be at the cutting edge of digital delivery and monetisation, attracting millions of viewers around the world.

“We are unique in UK Local TV in that the internet was where we began, and we will always make it our priority to ensure that our digital offering is world class.”

Mr Johnson explained how BTVL has engaged expert media sector corporate financiers Mediaventura to oversee a round of investment designed to underwrite the company expansion.

He added: “Without wishing to sound too mercenary, it has been fundamental for us to make commercial sales the first priority for Bay TV Liverpool and our sales team have already made great strides in recruiting customers.

“The results from our first quarter sales campaign have exceeded all forecasts and demonstrate that there is a massive demand from businesses who are eager to tap-into cost-effective TV advertising - many of them for the first time ever.

“This confirmation of our business model has encouraged us to be ambitious in our plans for expanding our operations.

“Greater investment will enable us to deliver not only the must-watch station that the great city of Liverpool deserves, but will also deliver the potential to achieve the ambitious plans we have to create and innovate in the digital dimension.

“Many of the details of our plans to capitalise on the digital space are innovative and confidential. We are in partnership on this innovation with some of the most dynamic companies in the sector and the new products we envisage have the potential to overtake traditional advertising, publishing and broadcasting models.

Mr Johnson declined to say how much outside investment the company wanted to attract but added: “We want people in Merseyside, the North West and Wales to have the opportunity to share in a company at an early stage with huge potential for growth.

“I honestly believe this is a golden chance for people who want to get-in on a growth industry on the ground floor, but the window is tight since we need expressions of interest by Monday 31st March.”

Interested parties should contact Chris Johnson via email at chrisjohnson@baytvliverpool.com

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