Estuary TV announces shock closure with jobs lost

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 2 Aug 2018

A local television station based in Grimsby has announced its sudden closure, with a number of jobs being lost.

Estuary TV was launched in 2013 by Grimsby Institute as a commercial broadcaster, serving the Humber region.

The station had come under fire recently after it was revealed it had received £300,000 of BBC licence-fee money between 2013 and 2016 to produce 4,000 news stories - which may never have been used.

In a statement, the further and higher education provider said: “The Grimsby Institute has reluctantly taken the difficult decision to close Estuary TV, resulting in redundancies.

“We are proud of the small, but incredibly hard-working team’s efforts to develop innovative regional programming by working with local organisations.

“We are now seeking to work with a larger broadcaster to transfer the licence, ensuring local television will continue in the North East Lincolnshire area."

Estuary TV is to close

As part of a deal with the corporation, it was required to product thousands of news stories which would then be broadcast on BBC channels - despite it having its own large regional and national news-gathering teams. 

Viewing figures for Estuary TV are no longer recorded publicly, but data from 2014 showed its most popular programmes were being watched by fewer than 200 people, with some programmes having no viewers at all.

The BBC has refused to reveal how many of the programmes produced by the Humber channel were broadcast as part of its own regional or national programmes.

Estuary TV is based at the Grimsby Institute in Nuns Corner

A nightly news show and current affairs programme was anchored by the personable Hugh Riches, but other local content was thin on the ground and this show was repeated regularly. Many households using Sky only as a feed could not even receive the channel.

On September 1 the local TV licence for this area will be run by the national network operator That’s TV.

The statement continued: “This is a positive move, which will see growth and change in programming for the region. We hope it will also create the potential for staff to undertake new opportunities within the channel.

“Estuary TV has a successful history of engaging with both students and volunteers, which we will ensure continues by working with the potential new licensee.

“It has also provided an excellent advertising option for businesses, however the reality of running a small commercial channel means the required economies of scale cannot be realised.

“As part of our negotiations to transfer the licence, all current contracts with existing advertisers will be managed in line with this process.”

Estuary will continue until August 31, when That's TV takes over.

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