Mar 062014

The BBC’s Director General Tony Hall has this morning confirmed that the Corporation plans to axe BBC Three as a linear channel and replace it with timeshift channel BBC One+1 from autumn 2015.

£30 million from the closure of BBC Three would be ploughed into BBC One’s drama budget and into the launch of BBC One+1, which would start at 8pm with a one hour timeshift of The One Show. The +1 channel would be a national service and available in HD. Starting at 8pm would avoid timeshifting regional news in the preceding hour.

The CBBC channel, with which BBC One+1 would share its bandwidth, would see its hours extended until around 7:57pm, before the video stream is switched to BBC One+1 for the evening.

Some of BBC Three’s content would live on via the iPlayer, and what’s left of its programming would be scheduled on BBC One or BBC Two after either the BBC News at 10 o’clock or Newsnight.

Is BBC Three going to disappear?
It will disappear from broadcast TV and be “reinvented as a new and innovative online service” involving the iPlayer.

When will this happen?
Autumn 2015.

Is this 100%?
The proposal must be accepted by the BBC Trust, which has promised to “listen to the views of audiences” and subject the plans to a “public value test” procedure.
It’s worth noting that the Trust has nixed cost-cutting plans in the past, saving BBC Radio 6 Music and the Asian Network.

Will these online shows ever be on proper telly?
BBC Television director Danny Cohen has promised that all “long-form” content will end up on BBC One or BBC Two usually “at 10.35pm or a little later”.

Why not axe BBC Four instead?
BBC Three’s audience is seen as “the most mobile and ready to move to an online world”.

Where’s the money gone?
The BBC Licence Fee has been flat for five years, while the corporation has had to take on the cost of the World Service (previously funded by the government), Welsh channel S4C and broadband roll-out.


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