That's TV is a local television network in England, Scotland and Wales, licensed to operate services in several conurbations. That's Television Ltd is owned by That's Media Ltd, which is based at The Flint Glass Works in the Ancoats neighbourhood of Manchester.
|Network||That's Television Ltd|
|Owned by||That's Media Ltd|
|Audience share||Local TV Macro Network:[Note 1]|
0.00% (September 2018 , BARB)
|Broadcast area||Basingstoke, York.|
|Headquarters||The Flint Glass Works, 64 Jersey Street, Manchester|
|Freeview||Channel 7/8 |
(depending on location)
|Virgin Media||Channel 159 |
(depending on location)
- That's Cambridge – based at Cambridge
- That's Cumbria (was That's Carlisle) – based at Carlisle
- That's Hampshire – based at Basingstoke, north Hampshire
- That's Lancashire – based at Preston, also covering Blackpool, Chorley, Leyland and Lancaster
- That's Humber – based at Grimsby, also covering Hull, Bridlington, Scunthorpe, Lincoln, Skegness, Spalding, Mablethorpe, Louth, Sleaford and Boston
- That's Manchester – covering Greater Manchester
- That's Norfolk (was Mustard TV) – based at Norwich
- That's North Yorkshire – based at Scarborough, also covering Filey and Whitby
- That's Oxfordshire – based at Reading
- That's Salisbury – based at Salisbury
- That's Scotland (was STV2) – covering Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow
- That's Solent – based at Portsmouth, also covering Southampton, Winchester and the Isle of Wight
- That's Surrey – based at Guildford, also covering Woking, Epsom and Ewell, Spelthorne, Elmbridge and Waverley
- That's Swansea Bay (was Bay TV Swansea) – based at Swansea and covering the Swansea Bay area
- That's Thames Valley – based at Reading
- That's York – based at York
In September 2012, the broadcast regulator Ofcom announced That's TV had been awarded a licence to broadcast a local TV service for Oxfordshire. Two months later, the company won a second licence for the Southampton and Portsmouth areas, in conjunction with newspaper publishers Newsquest and Johnston Press. That's Solent began broadcasting on 26 November 2014 while a soft launch of That's Oxford took place on 17 April 2015.
Prior to the launch of the Solent station, That's TV gained a further three licences in the south of England in June 2014 for the Guildford, Reading and Salisbury areas, followed a month later by a Basingstoke licence. In June 2015, a ninth licence was gained to serve the Carlisle area, in partnership with the CN Group.
The local TV licences for the Manchester and Preston/Blackpool areas were initially awarded to YourTV in February 2013, but both services failed to launch within the two-year timeframe permitted by the regulator. That's TV took a controlling stake in YourTV in March 2015 with the licences subsequently re-awarded. A soft launch of That's Manchester took place on 31 May 2015, followed by That's Lancashire on 24 August.
The founder of That's TV, Esther Rantzen, became the group's vice president when it opened its first station in Portsmouth and was lined up to present a weekly magazine programme. In May 2015, Rantzen resigned from the company along with former Meridian Broadcasting executive Mary McAnally.
In March 2016, Ofcom placed three of the stations – Manchester, Oxford and Solent – on notice over persistent technical issues.
In October 2016, it was announced That's TV had bought the licence for the York local TV service, formerly held by 'Hello York'. The group also bought out Cambridge TV.
On 2 January 2017, five That's TV stations (Cambridge, Lancashire, Manchester, Oxfordshire, Solent) started to simulcast Talking Pictures TV for six hours each day. In August 2017, That's TV bought Norfolk station Mustard TV.
In May 2018, That's TV agreed to acquire the assets of STV's STV2 channel launching on the 15th of October. In August 2018, That's TV bought Estuary TV's channel slots, covering North and North East Lincolnshire and the rest of the Lincolnshire area.
Each That's TV station produces its own output, consisting of a single news bulletin, shown on a loop during the evening and overnight, with old films and cartoons broadcast during the day.
In June 2018, BuzzFeed revealed how That's TV had "gamed" the BBC for hundreds of thousands of pounds of licence fee payers' money. The report also claimed that several of the company's stations had fewer than 30 viewers per day. The same month, the Press Gazette reported that unpaid interns working for That's TV "passed out through exhaustion".
In July 2018, former That's Solent journalist Dale McEwan reported his own experiences of working for the organisation. He listed poor pay and exhausting hours among his concerns. He also revealed that That's Solent sent 1,207 stories to the BBC in year one (November 2014 to November 2015) but the BBC used only 114 (9.4% of stories), equating to a cost of £1,315 per story. The National Union of Journalists in Scotland said it was "deeply concerned" by McEwan's revelations and news that That's TV was launching five stations in Scotland.
In October 2018, McEwan continued his investigations into That's TV. Former That's TV staff members said the BBC was breaking its internal ethics code through its contract with the company. That's TV must adhere to the code as a supplier of video stories to the BBC. As the code states, suppliers “must pay wages sufficient to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income”. But That's TV's decision to pay staff the National Minimum Wage on zero-hour contracts and expect them to cover their own large petrol costs means that staff are effectively earning poverty wages. As McEwan found, one former staff member said That's TV director Dan Cass asked them if they would be willing to go from paid to unpaid, but the individual refused. This was one week after the birth of this freelancer's disabled child. Another former staff member claimed they could not afford tampons during their work with That's TV. It is claimed that That's TV is therefore breaking the BBC's code on this point.
McEwan wrote another investigative article in October 2018. He found that at least four colleges/universities had asked the local That's TV stations to leave the premises. For example, Queen Mary's College (QMC) in Basingstoke served notice on That's Hampshire in summer 2018 after a BuzzFeed investigation revealed That's TV had “gamed” the BBC for hundreds of thousands of pounds of licence fee payers’ money. That's TV did not, however, inform broadcast regulator Ofcom about the station's change of address. The out-of-date QMC address was still displayed on Ofcom's website months after the station left QMC. McEwan also found evidence suggesting that That's Hampshire staff were sharing the office of That's Thames Valley in Reading. Ofcom said it is a licence condition for all local TV licensees to ensure that the main production base of the licensed service, and/or studio from which the licensed service is broadcast, is located within the licensed area. The regulator confirmed a station's office can be based outside of the licensed area, but prior written consent must be given. Ofcom said consent had not been given to That's TV. Ofcom added that it was investigating and would take action if it found a breach of licence had taken place.
McEwan wrote an investigative article for Private Eye magazine in March 2019 where he revealed that That's TV was refusing to tell the public where stations are broadcasting from. This is despite That's TV being publicly funded by millions of pounds from BBC licence fee payers. The report explained that That's TV quietly deleted the addresses for its stations across the UK and replaced them with one contact address in a Lancashire business park. Ofcom also said it cannot give any details of where stations broadcast from. A longer version of the article was published by Star and Crescent, where McEwan revealed that the first station to launch - That's Solent in 2014 - had now left Highbury College in Portsmouth. The station's whereabouts remain unknown and both That's TV and the college did not comment. Viewers are uncertain if the station is even located in the Solent area anymore. An observant viewer told McEwan that they saw a Salisbury postal address appear onscreen during a recent That's Solent news bulletin. The viewer never saw the address after that. It may be that That's Solent is now based in That's Salisbury's office, although the location of that station is also unknown.
- "THAT'S MEDIA LIMITED – Overview". Companies House. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
- "That's Television". media.info. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
- "Local TV broadcasters". Ofcom. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
- "Local Stations". www.thats.tv. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
- Ofcom awards local TV licences for Birmingham and Oxford, Local TV, 19 September 2012
- Ofcom awards local TV licence to Southampton company backed by Johnston Press and Newsquest, Press Gazette, 26 August 2012
- Ofcom awards three more local TV licences to That's TV in Guildford, Reading and Salisbury, Press Gazette, 25 June 2014
- Ofcom awards Maidstone and Basingstoke local TV licences, OFCOM, 30 July 2014
- Ofcom confirms third That’s TV licence in the North West, Prolific North, 18 June 2015
- YourTV Manchester in discussions with Ofcom, Prolific North, 5 February 2015
- Exclusive: Local TV licences in Manchester and Blackpool & Preston to be rebranded as That’s TV takes control, Prolific North, 5 March 2015
- OFCOM grants Manchester local TV licence, a516digital.com, 7 May 2015
- That's strife as Esther quits Solent TV, Daily Echo, 22 May 2015
- OFCOM Broadcast Bulletin – issue 301
- Liverpool local TV service prepares for re-launch, a516digital.com, 3 October 2016
- "Talking Pictures TV agrees major distribution deal". TalkingPictures.co.uk. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
- "Norfolk local TV station Mustard TV broadcasts last show". BBC News. 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
- "Struggling STV 2 to be taken off air in online shift". The Drum. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
- "Estuary TV channel to close". a516digital. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- "Revealed: How Britain's Biggest Local TV Company Has "Gamed" The BBC For Licence Fee Payers' Money". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
- "Interns at BBC-funded local TV company say they passed out through exhaustion – Press Gazette". www.pressgazette.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
- "Selling Scotland's local television to That's TV is a travesty". Bella Caledonia. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
- "NUJ voices concern over That's TV". National Union of Journalists. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
- "Former Employees Call for BBC Investigation of That's Solent TV – Star & Crescent". Retrieved 2019-03-08.
- "BBC Code of Ethical Policy" (PDF).
- "Selling Scotland's local television to That's TV is a travesty". Bella Caledonia. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
- "That's Solent TV: Delivering for Portsmouth Students? – Star & Crescent". Retrieved 2019-03-08.
- McEwan, Dale (2019-03-20). "Private Eye magazine article - "Local Difficulties"". @DaleSMcEwan. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
- "How Local is That's Solent? Investigating Publicly-Funded Local TV – Star & Crescent". Retrieved 2019-03-29.