How does BBC Three online work? And all your other questions answered
James R | On 16, Feb 2016
Today, BBC Three became the online TV channel by the BBC, as the broadcaster moved its youth channel to the web in an attempt to both keep up with the times and cut costs.
But how does the new BBC Three work? Where can you watch it? And what shows will be available to watch? We answer all your questions about the new BBC Three. (IF there are any questions we haven’t answered, shout them at us below and we’ll update this.)
Where is BBC Three now?
BBC Three is online in the same place it always has been: www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree.
Why has BBC Three moved online?
There are several reasons, from cutting operating costs for the Beeb as a whole to keeping up with an increasingly digital audience, as people watch more and more TV online, on their phones and on their tablets. Whichever answer you pick, the potential is pretty darn exciting.
What’s with the pink logo?
We quite like pink. Don’t you?
How does an online TV channel work?
A lot like Netflix, YouTube, or BBC iPlayer: content will be released online on the BBC Three website every day. This content will be divided into two categories: The Daily Drop, which consists of shorter content, released daily (duh), and The Best Of / BBC Three on iPlayer, which consists of original, longer programmes, as well as box sets of old favourites.
How do I browse all this?
Head to the BBC Three site and you can browse the content by category (Daily Drop and The Best Of), with tags also used to help find things by theme – which is especially useful for all the short-form content that links together.
What the heck is a Daily Drop?
The Daily Drop’s stream of content could be anything, from short films and animation to blogs and news / sport updates. Think of it as a BBC Three Tumblr. So far, content has ranged from “The Three Brief” (behind-the-scenes interviews with people making content for BBC Three) to “3 from Three” (a news update broken into three important headlines) and even this article on the housing crisis.
How can I get the Daily Drop?
You can see those at www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/daily-drop, with video content and other media also distributed on BBC Three’s YouTube Channel and social media accounts, including Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Here’s the first episode of The Man Who Witnessed 219 Executions, a three-part documentary about Larry Fitzgerald, whose job it was to witness executions carried out by the state of Texas and who, after retiring, is having to reconcile what he has been part of.
Did I just watch online TV?
Yes. Turns out we’ve all been doing it the whole time. If you have Chromecast, a streaming media device, a Smart TV or a console connected to your telly, you can even watch it in your living room like boring, old-fashioned, scheduled television.
What about longer TV shows?
BBC Three will continue to make original comedies, with People Just Do Nothing, Murder In Successville and Cuckoo all returning for new seasons – Cuckoo Season 3, in fact, kicked off the channel’s launch. New series will include drama shows such as Thirteen, Clique and Doctor Who spin-off Class, thought-provoking documentaries, such as Life and Death Row: Season 2 and Suicide And Me, plus current affairs programming, such as Black Power and Is This Rape? Sex On Trial. (For more on those, click here)
Are there new shows available at launch I can watch now?
Yes: there’s the first episode of Life and Death Row: Season 2 and the first episode of Cuckoo: Season 3.
You mentioned box sets?
Yes, you can currently stream the following box sets of older BBC Three shows on BBC iPlayer: Gavin and Stacey, Siblings: Season 2, Cuckoo: Season 1 and 2, People Just Do Nothing: Season 1, Him & Her: The Wedding, Bad Education: Season 1, Little Britain: Season 1, In the Flesh: Season 1, The Revolution Will Be Televisied (Season 1), Don’t Tell the Bride: Season 9 and 10 and Russell Howard’s Good News Extra: Season 6. Much like all BBC iPlayer content, these all have their own expiry dates, with some shows available for another couple of weeks (Don’t Tell the Bride) and others for several months (In the Flesh).
So is BBC Three basically just iPlayer with a Tumblr attached?
If you want to think of it like that, yes. But it’s the way the two connect together that give BBC Three the same identity it’s always had as a channel. Combined with the lack of broadcast restrictions surrounding time, for example, the opportunity for new media ground to be broken is basically limitless.
Will shows have subtitles?
All long-form original programmes on BBC Three will have subtitles.
Will episodes be added every week or all at once? When can I watch Cuckoo?
Episode 2 of Cuckoo’s third season will be released on Monday 22nd February, with episodes arriving every Monday after that. You can expect BBC Three to release most new programmes on a weekly basis, with box sets of older shows added all at once for binge-viewing.
What else is coming soon to BBC Three?
On 17th February, comedy series Live from the BBC will premiere online at 6pm, but the BBC has not yet announced dates for many other series. For a list of what’s on the way, click here.
This all sounds good, but what if I don’t have broadband?
All long-form, original shows on BBC Three will be repeated on BBC One and BBC Two after their broadcast. Episode 1 of Cuckoo Season 3, for example, will be repeated on BBC One at 10.45pm on 22nd February. So if you don’t have a good web connection, you can still watch things on your telly box. You can even record them on VHS using a VCR, if you like.
What’s a VHS?
We have no idea.