Plug to be pulled on BBC Three as a TV service in February

The bad news was delivered as a part of a review by the BBC Trust on the corporation’s non-core channels which include BBC Three as well as CBBC, iPlayer and BBC One+1.

The Trust, whose purpose is to derive maximum value for money for BBC licence fee payers, says that its plans will enable the BBC to deliver more distinctive content online, while bearing down on costs. Part of this will see BBC Three — aimed primarily at younger, more digitally native audiences —go online-only.

The decision is the end of a process that began with provisional conclusions published in June 2015. In its review, the Trust concluded that there is clear public value in moving BBC Three online, as independent evidence showed younger audiences were watching more online and watching less linear TV. It asserted that the move would also contribute to the ‘significant’ savings the BBC is currently making.

“The decision to close a TV channel is a difficult one, and one we have not taken lightly. The BBC must adapt with its audiences; the evidence is very clear that younger audiences are watching more online and less linear TV,” commented BBC trustee Suzanna Taverne, chair of the Trust’s services committee which led the assessment of the proposals. “The plans enable the BBC to deliver more distinctive content online, while bearing down on costs; to address concerns about the impact of moving BBC Three online, we have set new requirements for programmes for younger audiences on BBC One and Two.”

In making its judgement, the Trust stressed that it would address concerns about the impact of moving BBC Three online, such as the potential impact on younger audiences and those without reliable Internet access. It has also set new requirements for programmes for younger audiences on the flagship BBC One and Two channels. Among these are a condition for all BBC Three long-form programmes to be broadcast in slots on BBC One and Two, on an ongoing basis, effective immediately on closure of the BBC Three TV channel.

As part of its decision the Trust also approved plans to extend the hours of kids’ channel CBBC to 9pm, and to develop the iPlayer beyond a catch-up service, to include online-first and third-party content. However, it formally rejected the BBC’s proposals for a BBC One +1 channel, on the basis of limited public value.

Commenting on the decisions and the future of the channel going forward, BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh said: “Today is just the beginning for BBC Three and our plans to transform our offer for young people. We have lots of new content coming in 2016 and exciting new ways of delivering it in development. We will now set about launching a digital-first BBC Three in early 2016.”

Article source: http://www.rapidtvnews.com/2015112740833/plug-to-be-pulled-on-bbc-three-as-a-tv-service-in-february.html

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