TV channel hits launch funding target

Sheffield Live TV, the local television channel for Sheffield, has achieved its launch fundraising target – with over 100 supporters applying to become “community shareholders”.

Sheffield Community Media Ltd, a new community benefit society which owns Sheffield Live TV, has raised £160,000 through community shares and social investment commitments: nearly £10,000 more than its target.

The crowdfunding initiative to put Sheffield’s local TV channel into community ownership is the first of its kind in the UK media sector enabling Sheffield people, businesses and voluntary organisations to participate as investors in a society to support local community media.

In the last 7 days of fundraising, nearly £20,000 was generated, taking the campaign over the target it needed to achieve by 14 August. Over 100 individuals, businesses and voluntary organisations have each applied for between £100 and £20,000 worth of community shares. The cash will be used to purchase equipment and complete studio facilities for public access and independent production. Sheffield Community Media intends to pay its community shareholders a modest rate of interest.

The new TV channel will broadcast on Freeview Channel 8, Virgin Cable, and the internet. Once on air, from 23 September, it will benefit from revenue via a contract to supply news to the BBC – as well as local and national advertising and sponsorship. The channel will collaborate with existing community radio station, Sheffield Live!, which has been broadcasting via FM for nearly seven years.

Sheffield Live TV will broadcast news about Sheffield alongside programmes covering Sheffield music, sport, culture and much more. It promises unique, high quality content, “Made in Sheffield, Made by you.” A flagship daily news programme will cover Sheffield news in depth while other programmes will cover Sheffield’s “rich, varied, and diverse”  music, events, culture, arts, and sports.

Steve Buckley, the Chair of the new TV channel and a director of Sheffield Community Media, said:

“We are delighted that so many Sheffield people and organisations have shown their support for Sheffield Live TV and community-owned media by applying for community shares. We’d like to thank them for their support and we look forward to their involvement in the channel.  We are in the final phase of our planning to launch Sheffield Live TV which will be locally owned and run for community benefit.  We aim to develop a multimedia news service and to deliver original, locally-made programming, reflecting the interests and talent of Sheffield people and communities.”

Sheffield Community Media Ltd has raised £90,000 in community share applications and pledges from 114 individuals and businesses and a further £70,000 in social investment loans from the Key Fund, a community development finance institution. Sheffield Community Media Ltd is a society for the benefit of the community incorporated under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965. Registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. Registration No: 31727R. Registered address: 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX