London Live, the local television station which launched on 31 March 2014, has announced losses of £11.6 million in the year ending September 2014, and recorded revenues of £1.3 million. Excluding exceptional start-up costs and year-end accounting adjustments, the trading loss for the year ending September 2014 was £10 million. The channel anticipates operating losses for the current financial year ending September 2015 will be reduced by almost 50 per cent compared to 2013/14.
The channel was launched by London’s Evening Standard newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev, with an audience peak of 59,000. However, figures from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) revealed that on eight occasions the channel’s breakfast show Wake Up London averaged just 2,400 viewers. Entertainment show London Go averaged 5,600 viewers but fell as low as only 300 viewers on three occasions.
The channel has fared better over recent months: May 2015 delivered the best ever month for London Live with 2.5 million adults watching the channel, almost 200,000 more than in April 2015. Seventy-two per cent of them represent returning viewers.
In the same month London Live ranked 21st in terms of audience reach, marginally behind Sky 1 but attracting more viewers in London than 5USA, Sky News, Watch, ITVBe, Quest and Comedy Central.
May 2015 set a new record with 0.36 per cent share of viewing in London, which represented a 13 per cent increase on April 2015 and a 112 per cent increase on May 2014.
Steve Auckland, group CEO, ESI media commented: “I’m delighted with the progress made over the past few months with the channel enjoying record audiences and revenue. The business is in far better shape than it has ever been and is building a strong foundation for the future which is a credit to Tim and his team.”
Tim Kirkman, chief operating officer, London Live has also remained positive, commenting: “We launched a quality channel after building the complete broadcasting chain from scratch and our agile approach during our first year has seen us evolve the channel, focusing investment on the most popular programming and ensuring a financially sustainable cost base for the business. Following consultations with Ofcom, we have also benefited from a number of modifications to licence requirements, which have enabled us to further boost our offering for viewers.”