BBC Three Returns As A Broadcast Channel

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02 Mar 21

BBC Three Returns As A Broadcast Channel

BBC Three is returning to linear broadcast tv after six years the BBC has announced.

The free-to-air channel originally launched back in February 2003 targeting viewers between 16 and 34 years old. However, in 2016, the decision was made to move it to an online-only service, integrated with BBC iPlayer. The brand has actually thrived on there, bring shows such as ‘Killing Eve’, ‘Fleabag’ and ‘Normal People’, along with a string of highly respected documentaries and home-grown content.

“BBC Three is a BBC success story, backing creativity, new talent and brave ideas has resulted in hit after hit, from Fleabag and Man Like Mobeen, Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK and Jesy Nelson’s Odd One Out, to Normal People and This Country,” commented Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer. “The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK. So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again. It has exciting, groundbreaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using BBC iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”

The plan is to use both a broadcast channel and BBC iPlayer in tandem, to help grow the offer and deliver more value to younger audiences. On average, young adults in the UK spend more media time per week (seven and a half hours) with BBC’s services than any other brand. Research at the BBC identified a significant group of younger viewers who maintain a strong linear TV habit but are currently light users of the BBC, and they want to change that.

BBC Three has a strong heritage in breaking and supporting new British talent, so the hope is this will create a bigger platform to launch and celebrate them, along with providing a new “shop window” to reach a younger audience currently underserved by the BBC. The aim is for at least two-thirds of the expanded BBC Three’s programme spend to be outside of London and across the UK.

BBC Three proposed launch (or re-launch) date is January 2022 and it will continue to be targeted at audiences aged 16-34. As it did previously, the channel will share a slot with CBBC, which will stop at 7pm, with BBC Three broadcasting from 7pm to 4am each day – the same as the hours both channels operated prior to 2016. As a result, they intend to expand the remit of BBC Three with a pre-watershed content offer suitable for 13+. Importantly, we will not take any further traditional TV channel capacity, but reallocate distribution capacity from our existing services within the current space.

BBC Three is set to re-launch as a broadcast channel from January 2022.