Updated: Tuesday, 17th September 2019 @ 1:06pm

Manchester.TV: UK's first independent internet channel launches to bring good news to 'Rainy City'

Manchester.TV: UK's first independent internet channel launches to bring good news to 'Rainy City'

By Claire Holden

The UK’s first independent Internet TV channel dedicated solely to one city is being launched, and it belongs to Manchester.

Manchester.TV is the brainchild of James Black, who has dreamt for years of creating a channel that will show off the city at its very best.

It was the BBC’s intention to win a bigger audience outside of the South of England when the corporation moved to MediaCityUK, Salford, and the loyalty of Mancunians is an important part of that.

With the arrival of large parts of the BBC in Manchester, the continuing impact of Granada (ITV) and the recent collapse of Channel M, is there room for a fledgling news channel for the city, or could James’ project face the same fate as other local TV channels?

The online station promises to find the news, features and stories that the people of Manchester want to hear about.

James said it will focus not on the bleak news that the nation’s press prefers to report on, but instead on the great many positive things that the people of Manchester are doing.

“I want the doom and gloom perception of Manchester to change. It’s bad enough that across Europe we’re known as the rainy city, I can see that misconception disappearing.

“There are 2.6 million people in Greater Manchester and every single one of them has had an interesting life, and I want to tell their stories.”

Manchester.TV centres on a 90 second daily news bulletin and the site will also include sports reports, special offers, and a hub for local businesses to contact each other.

James, from Blackley, wants to leave a legacy. He said: “I grew up in this city. It’s a city that draws people in and makes everyone feel like they belong here. I want to document that.

“I want to create something that I can show my grandchildren, and show them the evidence of what this city was like 100 years ago and the development of Manchester, from an industrial town to a really funky city.”

After the launch of Manchester.TV last week, ex-Daily Mail journalist James called it a “soft launch” as he still needs to work out the demand for his online channel.

He said: “The next 50 days will be critical in finding out what the people want.”

James has poured his own money into funding the channel; a risk that few would take.

“If the channel doesn’t make a penny then that’s ok. I just want to put something out there to tell the story of Manchester.”

Despite his clear passion for the channel, he admitted that his strategy of producing the station before he has established demand is a dangerous one.

He said: “I’m gambling that by the time the budget runs out people will be interested.

“Even if we went bust though, I would want to keep it going.”

James refuted comparisons to the ill-fated Channel M, and said that the reality is that the station effectively closed two years ago when they came into money troubles after its owner Guardian Media Group sold the channel.

He said: “Where they went wrong was to have a budget set and then spend up to it. We want to do it the other way around. We will make the videos and if we can’t afford to do it ourselves we will find a sponsor.”

James is putting everything on the line to give Manchester.TV the chance of life he so desperately wants it to have, but it is yet to be seen if Manchester will adopt it as their go-to news channel.

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