The BBC Trust today confirmed that the BBC Three TV channel will close and go online-only, 20 months after it was first announced,
The BBC Trust today gave the green light on the move following two public consultations on the matter. The changes will take place next year.
Ahead of the changes, the BBC will undertake a massive promotional campaign to make viewers aware of what’s happening to the service.
There will be a brief phased migration online from January 2016 until the end of Februayr 2016. From March, BBC Three will be an online-only service.
Moving the 12-year-old youth-oriented channel online will save the corporation about £30m a year, with some of those savings redirected into its drama budget for BBC1. The budget for the new online-only service will be £30m, about £6m of which will be spent on short-form content.
The controversial move sees the only BBC channel that regularly attracts an audience with an average age of under 35 and a high proportion of low-income and minority viewers being moved to an online portal, which will combine regular programmes with special created-for-the-web short videos alongside social media collaborations.
The BBC3 TV channel will stop showing programmes at the end of January, but will continue to run as a “barker” – “a promotional transitional channel” – until it is fully switched off at the end of February.
But the BBC Trust has said that BBC Three programmes must continue to be given timeslots on BBC One and Two, and that it must broadcast BBC Three shows “at a variety of times across the schedule”. And it has threatened to impose quotas 18 months after BBC Three’s move online if there are shortcomings in BBC content reaching low income and minority groups.