Update: The BBC has confirmed its plans to close BBC Three as a broadcast TV channel. Subject to approval by the BBC Trust, it will be taken off-air in autumn 2015. Tony Hall, Director-General for the BBC, said BBC Three would continue online as part of its iPlayer service. Moving forward, the channel’s “long-form” content will be aired on BBC One and BBC Two.
The BBC is reportedly planning to take its youth-focused BBC Three television channel off-air in order to save money and meet savings targets.
TV shows that would have been broadcast on BBC Three might still be available on iPlayer, but the channel as it exists today would no longer be available to watch on Freeview, satellite or cable.The broadcaster will announce its decision tomorrow (March 6), according to the BBC’s media correspondent David Sillito.
BBC Three was launched in 2003 to target teenagers and young adults with original, creative programming. Shows such as Little Britain, Gavin and Stacey and Being Human garnered sizeable followings there, although these days it’s arguably known for Family Guy reruns above all else.
Given the growth in iPlayer’s viewership, the move wouldn’t be too surprising – but to lose one of its flagship channels from conventional TV distribution platforms would still be a huge blow to many licence fee payers.
As Engadget notes, it’s worth remembering that the BBC also planned to close BBC Radio 6 back in 2010, but eventually abandoned the move following an eruption of public support for the digital radio station.
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