Sheffield TV is coming on air

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
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Turn on your TV in a few weeks time and you’ll be in for a big surprise.

For once it won’t be the bright lights of Leeds thanks to BBC Look North or YTV or Manchester where swathes of the BBC are holed up in Media City.

Nope, it will be Sheffield – pure and simple.

Our very own shiny, new channel will be proudly showing off its wares.

News about what’s to come from the station is one of Sheffield’s best kept secrets. Your average person in the street has little knowledge of it and the powers that be have been happy to keep it that way - preferring to work behind the scenes to get everything ready for a launch in September.

One thing that has come to the fore since the announcement of the forthcoming channel is interest in its 1970s forerunner.

The city actually had its own, dedicated channel around four decades ago.

Sheffield Cablevision was a true pioneer of local content and ran for just over three years.

It broadcast for a couple of hours each evening with repeats in the day. It was available to around 30,000 homes in the city.

People have fond memories of the output that came from their Matilda Street base which must give a huge boost to the team behind the new channel.

Though ‘hyper local’ TV is common in much of the States, it’s still very new here. Manchester’s Channel M bit the dust in 2012 and the new London channel, London Live, launched just a few weeks ago has been suffering dire ratings. So can Sheffield sustain its own channel?

‘Hyper local’ – content delivered to a small, but well defined market, is a dream for potential advertisers.

A key part of the business models of Google and Facebook are built on incredibly well targeted advertising and they’re devastatingly successful. Striking a balance between quality and commercial viability will be the key. It will have more reach than Sheffield Cablevision that was restricted to a small percentage of the population.

Let hope we’re talking about their success in a few weeks time.