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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

BBC Three Adopts Online Only Format

BBC Three has been broadcast for the final time via the conventional airwaves.

From tonight the channel, which has a regular following of around a million viewers, will only be available online. That doesn't bode too well for audience figures, with only 4% of regular viewers currently using the BBC's iPlayer service.

BBC Three was launched in early 2003 and its audience share has steadily grown to 1.2%. The channel, which provides innovative content to younger viewers, is watched by a quarter of viewers between the ages of 16 to 24.

Many of BBC Three's most popular programmes will be migrated across to BBCs One and Two in order to make them as accessible as possible. The BBC has budgeted around £25m for exclusively online BBC Three programming.

More than 300,000 BBC Three supporters signed a petition against the channel's banishment into cyberspace, but the BBC Trust decided to press ahead regardless.

In the finest traditions of BBC television, the final programme broadcast on BBC Three last night was a repeat of the first ever episode of Gavin And Stacey.

Speaking about the new online channel Damian Kavanagh, Digital Controller of BBC Three, said: "I want BBC Three to be what people told us they wanted and what we do better than anyone else; original British comedy, provocative documentaries, edgy current affairs and contemporary British drama that makes people think and laugh."

The decision to move BBC Three to an exclusively online format raises a few interesting questions about whether or not viewers of the channel would require a TV licence.

As the new online version of BBC Three is not broadcast via Freeview, Freesat, cable or satellite, is viewing it really any different to watching a webcam feed? In all honesty, it probably isn't. The online version of BBC Three certainly isn't a TV programme service within the strictest definition of the current legislation.

It would appear, at the moment, there are very few definitive answers about how the TV licence will apply to the new online channel, although the BBC is still pushing hard for the closure of the so-called iPlayer loophole.

Even if a TV licence is required to view the new online channel, the BBC has no way at all of identifying or tracking down individual users of its iPlayer service.

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TGR Worzel said...

BBC Three, when I last watched it (some years ago), seemed a bit of a waste of space to me. I think I would have scrapped it completely, having watched crap like Snog, Marry Avoid...

Frankly, I don't see that there's a great saving to be had, by putting it online..

syd floyd said...

Its now being promoted as some trendy exclusive "yoof" channel... but the content is still the same old garbage