The BBC Trust has confirmed that a gradual switch-off of its terrestrial BBC Three TV services will begin in January 2016, and will be complete by the end of February.
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Ostensibly, it’s a cost-cutting move that should save around £30 million ($45 million) each year, with all of BBC Three’s long-form original content also airing on BBC One or BBC Two.
BBC Three’s Controller Damian Kavanagh said:
“BBC Three is not closing, we are reinventing online. We will not be a scheduled 7pm to 4am linear broadcast TV channel but we will be everywhere else giving you the freedom to choose what to watch when you want. We will be available on BBC iPlayer on connected TV’s and via set top boxes and consoles like the PS4 so you can watch on a big TV with friends, if you want. We will be on mobiles and tablets so you can watch on your own in the bath, if you want. The truth is we will be available to you in more places than ever before including linear TV.”
It will spend 80 percent of its budget on producing new long-form shows and 20 percent on new short-form content that’s more suitable for online viewing and younger audiences (with shorter attention spans).
However, other non-exclusive staple shows from BBC Three like Family Guy or American Dad are already viewable in a number of places online, and by going online-only BBC Three’s content has to compete with the huge repositories of Amazon and Netflix in the UK, even if you ignore any of the smaller on-demand players.
With huge catalogs, original programming and ubiquity of access offered by rivals, it remains to be seen whether BBC Three’s youth-oriented content will stand out among the considerable noise.