Llanelli Online reported (Dec 9) on the take over of Bay TV by That’s TV a local television network owned by That’s Media Ltd, which is based at The Flint Glass Works in the Ancoats suburb of Manchester. The company is already broadcasting in Lancashire, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and the Solent area.
The company claims it champions the interests and concerns of its viewers, providing a voice to local people to tell their stories and have their say on issues which matter to them.
The new owners were urged not to cut staff or reduce programming by Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins. She also called for Bay TV’s new owners to “abide” by licence commitments that meant it must show 20 hours of new programmes a week. Within weeks of the takeover they appear to have sacked the majority of the former Bay TV staff including Llanelli’s Robert Lloyd who only joined Bay TV in November of 2017 as station manager and head of news. It is or rather was a prerequisite to have a journalist embedded at the station. News was gathered and shown on Channel 8 News and the BBC. Bethan Jenkins AM has also come out and said that the new owners were ‘not operating in good faith’.
Bay TV was launched in July 2016 and it was based at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Dynevor Campus, De La Beche Street, Swansea and had a Youtube Channel and a website swanseabaytv.com.
We could not find a live web feed for That’s Swansea Bay TV but we did find a Youtube channel, a Twitter page @ThatsSwansea Bay and a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ThatsSwanseaBayTV/?ref=br_rs There were two videos on their Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGX73cnnpFTkhyF3B9LuazQ which had been posted between Jan 19 and 24. The videos had had 3 views and 6 views respectively. There were three items on their Facebook page, which had also been posted between Jan 19 and 24. Rob Lloyd a prolific Tweeter had made his last tweet for Bay TV on Jan 19. There has been one tweet on the new Twitter page since Jan 24.
Previous bosses Peter Townsend and Peter Curtis were summoned to appear before the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee last year to give evidence regarding the content and the progress being made by the station. Townsend was absent but Peter Curtis gave a good account of the difficulties the station faced in the light of stiff competition and an uneven playing field when it came to Ofcom’s rules and regulations for Bay TV and operators like the BBC.
At the time he said: “I believe online broadcasting is the future of all broadcasting. Wales has a great disadvantage because we don’t have 4G coverage over the whole nation. Given my life again I wouldn’t have done it this way. I don’t think anybody was aware that Facebook would start offering free television to the nation.”
It remains to be seen what That’s TV can offer local people by way of relevant local content and what links they will make with hyperlocal news gatherers and in promoting Welsh language content.