BBC reveals online plans for BBC Three
James R | On 10, Dec 2014
The BBC has revealed its plans for the transition of BBC Three to an online-only channel.
The broadcaster announced earlier this year that it would take BBC Three off the digital terrestrial airwaves, opening up room for a new BBC One+1 service. Now though, more details about what exactly BBC Three’s service will look like have been announced.
The BBC Trust received the proposal this month for the new service, which will need to be given final approval before being implemented. (The public will be consulted next year before a decision is made.)
The proposals will see BBC Three move from its current nine-hour broadcast to a 24-hour online service. Programmes will be available on iPlayer, but will also be distributed through external sites, such as YouTube and Facebook.
This will then open up space for the new BBC One+1 channel, but will also allow CBBC to broadcast for an additional two hours every evening.
The move will save the BBC £50m during difficult financial times, thanks to the frozen licence fee. Of the budget available for BBC Three, 80 per cent will be spent on long-form content, such as Murdered by My Boyfriend and Bad Education, while 20 per cent will be spent on “non-traditional content”, such as listicles and GIFs.
Damian Kavanagh, who is leading the proposals, said that the channel would be “reinvented for the digital age”, as young people increasingly consume TV online.
“This is not moving a TV channel and putting it online,” he said. “This is new. We are the first broadcaster in the world to propose something like this.”
“When we announced our plans to move BBC Three online, we admitted we were doing it earlier than hoped but it’s become clear that for young audiences, their shift from linear to TV to online is already happening. It now represents 28 percent of the average daily viewing for 16-24s, with forecasts from Enders Analysis suggesting this will be as high as 40 percent by 2020,” he added.
More than just broadcasting GIFs and listicles, though, BBC Three will also attempt to focus on harder-hitting content, as the service’s remit is divided into two core, themed strands: “Make Me Think” and “Make Me Laugh”. As a result, programmes such as Snog, Marry, Avoid are “likely to be jettisoned”.
BBC Three will team up with Radio 1’s Newsbeat to offer a daily news service.
Beeb boss Lord Hall said it will be a “great example of how we can reinvent the public service for the digital world”, searching out a new way to “engage and entertain young audiences on their terms”.
BBC Three will be “using their talent, appearing on the platforms and devices that they use and talking to them as equals and partners,” he added.
With all the emphasis on digital reinvention, why the BBC One+1 channel? The BBC says it is designed for viewers at the other end of the spectrum, who do not have access to broadband or do not use iPlayer.
Indeed, BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen notes that there will be an “initial drop overall” in viewing figures, when BBC Three is launched, but that the One+1 channel will be a key part of the new BBC channel dynamic.
“We know those +1 channels are very important to people,” he commented.
Director General Tony Hall has hailed the proposal as “exciting and ambitious”.
What do you think?