Two rival bids for new Norwich television channel

Two bids have been submitted for a new local television channel in Norwich.

Community media publisher of the Norwich Evening News, Archant, has put together a joint venture bid to win a new licence from Ofcom. The new venture, Mustard, will be in competition with NR One, which is headed by former ITV Anglia head of sport and news presenter, Kevin Piper.

Ofcom was given new powers and duties to license new local television services and the Norwich licence will be one of 21 across the UK.

Decisions about who will be awarded the licences will be made by Ofcom from this autumn.

The Archant joint venture – known as Mustard – will draw on the company's long-established media resources and journalism across a range of media channels, commercial sales, sponsorship and back office support.

Mustard chairman Johnny Hustler, said: 'Archant has been providing news and information to the people of Norwich and Norfolk for the past 150 years. Mustard is another channel through which we can continue to provide this valuable service along with our partners. The station will highlight a wide range of local issues, stimulating well-informed debate and motivating local people to engage with them.'

Mr Hustler said Mustard had established partnerships with academic institutions, local businesses and production companies to ensure that it was an authentic local service made by and for the people of Norwich.

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Mustard Digital, the online web TV platform, will launch next January and be joined by the Freeview service later in the year if Mustard's bid is successful.

Mr Piper, who put together the NR One bid, said: 'I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for the fact I'm born and bred in Norwich and incredibly proud of the city.

'The same goes for most of the NR One team; we'd like think to our passion for the area and broadcasting experience can play a part in delivering a truly independent TV service that does Norwich proud.'

He said: 'BBC Look East and Anglia Tonight do a good job, as I know from experience, but time and again research shows viewers want news and current affairs programmes that are more local and therefore more relevant to them.

'Frankly, people living in Norwich don't have an interest in what's happening in Corby.

'A truly local service will put that right.'

He added: 'The brief is to give local people and communities a voice; that's precisely what we aim to do.

'NR One will be a channel the people of Norwich can play a big part in shaping.

'We'll showcase and celebrate the many wonderful things about the city, but also give people a platform to challenge issues and hold decision makers and local politicians to account, if and where necessary.'