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Russian-born press baron to set up London TV station

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Russian-born press baron Evgeny Lebedev has won a licence to run a new digital television station for Londoners, Britain's broadcasting regulator announced on Monday.

The new London Live channel operated by Lebedev's Evening Standard Television (ESTV) will be the British capital's first dedicated television channel, broadcasting 18 hours a day to around four million homes.

Lebedev, who owns four British newspapers including London's free Evening Standard daily and the left-leaning Independent broadsheet, said he was "absolutely delighted" to have won the licence.

"Our excellent team of journalists in the capital have the best contacts, knowledge and understanding of the London scene," said the 32-year-old, who is the son of Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev.

"Through the Evening Standard and Independent, we have proved time and again that we can deliver fast, accurate, high-quality breaking news, features and analysis, and we are looking forward to applying these skills to London Live."

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom said the bid by ESTV, which is wholly owned by Lebedev, had seen off competition from four other applicants.

ESTV had "demonstrated the greatest understanding of London’s diverse communities" of the five competitors and provided "important opportunities for close local community involvement", Ofcom said.

The channel will broadcast a minimum of four-and-a-half hours of London news and one hour of current affairs programming each day, the Evening Standard said.

It will also run "hyper-local" Internet TV streams from each of London's 33 boroughs.

The channel's main studio will be based at the Evening Standard's newsroom in Kensington, west London.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130204/russian-born-press-baron-set-london-tv-station