The dawn of a new era in broadcasting – Notts TV is born…

I can remember being in a meeting at Antenna some time ago when Confetti Media Group were thinking about bidding for a Nottinghamshire based TV franchise. It all seemed really exciting.


Notts TV was then won, not once but twice, by Confetti in conjunction with NTU and the Nottingham Post. In the last 198 months a lot of hard work has gone into the planning of the new station. And today it launches on Channel 8.

This is brilliant opportunity for Nottingham. It gives us a local TV station which will be driven purely by local stories. Being independent it doesn’t have the shackles of the BBC. It also gives many young people the opportunity to work in TV – something that has traditionally been hard to achieve unless you can get into the mainstream broadcasters – and those opportunities are few and far between.

This TV franchise sits cleverly with the Nottingham Post (who gather news) and with the broadcasting course of NTU. In addition is is seated firmly in the heart of the Creative Quarter where Confetti’s headquarters are. Many young people will get an opportunity to work in a real life TV station.

I think this is brilliant and fits so many local agenda’s. Local stories and local talent will make this a success.

I’m off tonight to the launch party and can’t wait to see what the new station has in store for us…

The MIPIM 2014 round up….

MIPIM 2014 finished last week and I think it was one of the best shows yet. Nottingham City Council stepped back up the plate after three years of private sector sponsorship. We still sponsored the event; but the City put money in too.

If you follow the blog you will know that we elected for a theme about ‘talented Nottingham’ which has a number of levels. Firstly the amount of raw talent in the city and the growing Creative Quarter. But secondly that when people come to city to invest (possibly by opening an office) they look at the physical assets and the pool of talent in the workforce.

We wanted something to convey the talent – which set us apart from the crowd. We had three things – a 3D App, a CD of Notts music and a film. The film is below.

I think the film is brilliant – I wasn’t sure if the City would buy into it – but they did.

What do you think?

lessons from the Creative Quarter

I was at a very interesting workshop yesterday – organised by the Nottingham Creative Quarter Company. There were around 25 of us all huddled into the meeting room at The Contemporary. Other than the 8am start it was really interesting to listen to some of the views about the Nottingham Creative Quarter.


The Creative Quarter isn’t very old – only just over a year. Although it does have a distinct boundary on a map it is very clear that the real boundary of people working in the sector is much fuzzier and spreads over a wider area. But the boundary does help in some senses – it helps to signpost people. And it shouts out about something we should be proud of.
Nuts and bolts how we deliver

Pat Brown, who I went to Lyon with last year facilitated the event. Pat started by recalling a story about Mayor Bloomberg in 2007 at a time when the financial markets were crumbling in New York. Bloomberg spotted that the creatives in the City were actually a key driver. They have been pretty much ignored and left to be shifted around as areas grew and became more expensive.He invested in technology and creativity. It proved to be a huge business and probably saved the City.

But there were some other really interesting statements yesterday that we need to factor in to our thinking moving forward.

I think there is some flesh needed on the following – but food for thought:

Creatives want to work differently. They don’t actually want shiny new buildings – they prefer heritage building with opening windows!

People are at the front and centre of the creative industries. People – not buildings or initiatives.

You need a 21st Century infrastructure. It needs to be fast, connected and easy.

They don’t want it to be difficult. It has to be easy to set up. Red tape is an unnecessary barrier.

Diverse businesses like other diverse businesses.

There has to be a vibrant day time economy and a similar night time one too.

But the one I loved most was that every so often we need to “Hit the Refresh Button”. This is so true and echoes the things I highlighted about New York here. To make places interesting they have to change. They have to evolve and re-invest themselves.

I have some more material which I am working through – but this is really good stuff for the overall plan!

Notts TV – the countdown begins

April 2014 – make a note. That’s the date Notts TV will launch. The Shane Meadows promo is below – it is very funny!

I was at the ‘studios’ on Friday night at the dry-run of a new Politics themed show – The Channel 8 Debate. It was a ‘question time’ style debate with a live studio audience drawn from a wide range of sectors. Frances Finn, ex Radio Nottingham presenter was the host. The panel was made up principally of politicians – Shadow Rail Minister & Nottingham South MP Lillian Greenwood, former Chancellor and Rushcliffe MP Kenneth Clarke, Ashfield Councillor Jason Zadrozny and Politics Professor Sue Pryce.

Although the film won’t be used in its entirety parts math be. It was a chance for a practice.

We romped through some local issues and that was great to see. A local show with local issues – surely no better a format for local TV? I thought it looked very professional and I can’t wait to see the real thing!

I even got to meet Vicky McClure!


Notts TV have the Licence for the next 14 years. There are plans according to Craig Chettle, Chairman, for the station to commission all manner of programmes – covering local sport and potentially even filming new drama.

Another great news story for Nottingham which is news itself at the moment, but will eventually deliver the news. Knowing the people involved I can see this being a great success and something a little different!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged , Craig Chettle, Frances Finn, Ken Clarke, Lilian Greenwood, Notts TV

Royalty and Creativity …

My good friends at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies are bracing themselves for a right Royal treat. Prince Harry will be visiting them next week as part of a tour of a number of places in Nottingham.


The Prince’s last call of his day in town will be to Confetti, which offers world-class training in music technology, gaming, film, television, radio and live events production. It is a part of Antenna – where a great number of Nottingham’s creatives live and breathe their stuff.

The block they occupy – at the bottom of Parliament Street – really forms the heart of the Nottingham Creative Quarter. I spend time in the cafe at Antenna and it is clear from those around me that this is a great place if you have talent in the creative industries – there are more macbooks than chairs sometimes!

The real reason behind the Prince’s visit is to launch a course which will for am key part of Notts TV ahead of the channel being broadcast next year. Notts TV is perhaps one of the most exciting projects for Nottingham – with unique opportunities to see local content – but also offer training in a demanding technical environment for youngsters.

This should rightly be a great day of celebration for the City.

Sadly I can’t be at the visit (I have had a number of requests for my invite!) – I shall be in Lyon, France – but more about that later!

Nottingham – new apprenticeship scheme

I was at Antenna in the week for the launch of Nottingham’s Apprenticeship Hub. The evening was introduced by Sir John Peace – he’s a busy man. He chairs three FTSE 100 companies: Standard Chartered, fashion house Burberry and local credit-checking firm Experian. In July of this year he became Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A giant in the local community.

His pre-amble to the launch of the new apprenticeship scheme was inspiring; he is great public speaker. No notes. No ‘ers’. He spoke passionately about how we get people back into work – especially young people. He was joined by Councillor Nick McDonald from the City and by Craig Chettle – CEO of the Antenna Media Group.

It was a big audience – of businesses folks and representatives from the FE and HE sectors.

The intention is to create a simple ‘hub’ where both potential employers and employees (apprentices) can ‘meet’ and be matched. It’s a good plan as the current arrangements are a little disparate – as I found out a few years ago when I tried to employ an apprentice. The arrangements are really quite confusing.

The other good news is that Craig Chettle launched the Confetti Media Group’s Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship programme. This will be a first for Nottingham – and sounds really exciting. If I were starting out this is exactly the sort of thing I would do.

You can read about the hub here. It is good to see that there are already jobs advertised on the NottinghamJobs website.

We do have a duty to get our young people into work – and any initiative to do so should be saluted and celebrated. It was a good evening!

Notts TV Part two.

I blogged about the great news that Notts TV had won a local franchise for TV. Then the train fell of the rails as the decison was called back in by Ofcom two weeks ago. There were some discrepancies in the process.

Fortunately the decision has been up-held after a very brief review by Ofcom. So Notts TV gets the green light.

This really is excellent news for Nottingham. More news will follow about what the TV station will look like – you can read about it here on their website.

What we do know from Ofcom is why they chose Notts TV over the rival bid of Television Nottingham. And they said:

* The key difference between the applicants was in the range of programming proposed in the Programming Commitments. A greater range was proposed by Notts TV.
* The Committee particularly took into account the commitments by Notts TV to a range of programme genres other than news, and the specific programming about the local area. It showed a greater variety of content in its offering than Television Nottingham.
* Notts TV provided a level of detail in its programming proposals that gave the Committee confidence that the proposed programming would be responsive to the Nottingham community.
* Additionally, the integration with the local newspaper would benefit Notts TV’s proposed service editorially.

I am really excited about the prospect of this local TV service. I think it is a great news story for Nottingham.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Nottingham Tagged , Nottingham Post, NottsTV, Ofcom, Television Nottingham

Nottingham TV

There was great news this week for Nottingham. An initiative was launched 18 months ago by the then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and aimed to award 21 cities with their own Freeview channel, providing locally relevant TV content to local audiences.

Antenna- the Dolby Suite – at the heart of Notts TV

And so a consortium was formed – made up of Antenna, Nottingham Trent University, Inclusive Digital and the Nottingham Post Media Group to make a bid for the franchise. There were a number of other bids too, but I understand that two were finally shortlisted.

Two days ago it was announced that the consortium had been given a Licence to broadcast for the 12 years – on Freeview Channel 8. It is anticipated that the first programmes will be broadcast from April 2014.

Nottingham is one of the first cities to be awarded the licence and the process has now begun in developing the programme content.

The bid team are all experienced in the media – particularly the emerging digital content.

What I’m really excited about is the opportunity this might present for the next generation of students – Confetti Studios already have a reputation for producing exceptional talent in the digital world. Nottingham Trent University have a world class course in broadcast journalism. The Post Group have the infrastructure to report news daily. Inclusive Digital is run by a former editor of ITV news, Nigel Dacre. The Managing Editor of the channel will be former BBC News Correspondent Rob Pittam.

I think that this is a fantastic story for Nottingham. The model has been proven in the USA and I can see a place for some localised content. And knowing the people involved, this won’t be half-hearted – it will be professional quality and a serious contender for your viewing!

Nottingham – City Deal

Nottingham had some great news yesterday. I have long since believed that one of the things the city out to celebrate is the creative sector. It is something we are good at. We have Nottingham Contemporary, good cinemas and theatres and, crucially, the centre of the creative heart of the place – Confetti and Antenna.

Yesterday Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) came to town and fittingly announced the details of City Deal at Antenna. The Core Cities are set to receive a Government City Deal – an initiative which gives cities outside of London more powers to make decisions and spend money on transport and regeneration schemes locally.

The press release suggest that Nottingham’s City Deal has £50m to be spent on:

* Developing the Nottingham Creative Quarter – an area which encompasses Nottingham’s three key emerging sectors – the creative and digital media sector, health and life sciences and green technologies.
* The Quarter, an ‘incubator without walls’, includes Antenna plus BioCity, Broadway, Broadmarsh East and the Island site and will be the focus of a package of concerted business development activity to enable entrepreneurship to flourish within the heart of Nottingham’s city centre.
* The Government, as part of the Deal, has committed up to £1m to help create more apprenticeships, by creating a Skills and Apprenticeships Hub and a new grants scheme will enable businesses to apply to a Nottingham-based fund manager for loans of anything between £100k and £1m, and in exceptional cases up to £5m.
* An £8m fund for transport and infrastructure improvements in the area and the creation of a ‘Youth Hub’ to tackle youth unemployment and pilot adult and community learning schemes.

So Nottingham has a unique opportunity to tap into money to deliver some of these schemes – in a period of financial difficulty. These sectors do give us a great story.

We must make sure we deliver on the deal!

The Nottingham Story – part three – The story

After my rant of yesterday I though we had better get back on track! I have suggested before that we tap into our history of being somewhat rebellious. I think the rebellion thing could provide a much needed theme.

After all it was here where King Charles I raised his standard here to start the English Civil War in 1642. So we’ve been causing trouble for over 350 years!

But part of that story is that we are also seen a fair people, the connection to Robin Hood is all-important here. He robbed from the rich to give to the poor. The beginning of the Social Service?

These can be fun things for us to latch on to. The do give us something of history. But it’s not quite enough?

I didn’t do History at School (actually I didn’t do much, but that’s another story!). I’m more of a ‘now’ person. And I think our story today is much more interesting.

Our connection with Science goes back to Jesse Boot – and we are a Science City. Stewart Adams invented Ibuprofen & Sir Peter Mansfield invented the MRI Scanner here in Nottingham. Our two Universities are brilliant and recognised the world over. But the City seems to have a disconnect with them. We need to embrace them and all that they do. They provide a weather of research and talent – which we need to keep inn the City. Lets make this place a Univercity.

In recent years we have also made great strides in the creative industries. We have the brilliant Nottingham Contemporary. We have a fantastic hot-bed of talent at Antenna and some creatives being trained next door at Confetti. Lets tap into that seam of people. Musicians, film makers and artists. Lets give them space to thrive and grow. Lets make this an Creaticity.

In a funny way the creatives and investors are rebels too – they are the new who dare to make a difference. Remember the Apple Poem?

Tomorrow – the business sector….