BBC Youth Network Online-Only Move Gets Final Approval

BBC London headquarters HQ - H 2015
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"The decision to close a TV channel is a difficult one, and one we have not taken lightly," says a member of the BBC Trust about the decision, which will yield cost savings.

The BBC’s decision to move youth network BBC Three online-only has received final approval from the BBC Trust governing body.

The Trust provisionally approved the move in the summer, but it said certain concerns would need to be addressed before final approval. The online-only shift is expected to finished by March and save the U.K. public broadcaster less than the originally estimated $75 million per year.

"The BBC Trust has formally approved proposals to move BBC Three online, and has set conditions to ensure that younger audiences continue to be well served," the governing body said in a statement. "Trustees concluded that that there is clear public value in moving BBC Three online, as independent evidence shows younger audiences are watching more online and watching less linear TV. The move will also contribute to the significant savings the BBC is currently making."


A condition requiring BBC Three shows to be broadcast on the BBC One or BBC Two networks has been strengthened so that all BBC Three long-form programs must air in slots on the channels on an ongoing basis.

"The Trust has also added a requirement to the service licenses for BBC One and Two to ensure continued creative risk-taking and experimenting with new talent and ideas," the governing body said. "The online BBC Three will also be required to have the same accessibility standards as the TV channel, wherever practicable."

Said BBC trustee Suzanna Taverne, chair of the Trust’s services committee, which led the review of the proposal: "The decision to close a TV channel is a difficult one, and one we have not taken lightly. The BBC must adapt with its audiences; the evidence is very clear that younger audiences are watching more online and less linear TV. The plans enable the BBC to deliver more distinctive content online, while bearing down on costs."

The Trust said it is also asking the BBC for a proposal for the use of the spectrum vacated by BBC Three within three months.

"Today is just the beginning for BBC Three and our plans to transform our offer for young people," said Damian Kavanagh, controller of BBC Three. "We have lots of new content coming in 2016 and exciting new ways of delivering it in development."