BBC3 to be cancelled, moved online

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 02 July 2015

The BBC Trust has approved plans to cancel the BBC3 TV channel and make it online-only in a move set to save the corporation 30 million a year.

"We want a strong, sustainable BBC which is innovative, distinctive and relevant and has clear boundaries with the commercial market," said Rona Fairhead, head of the trust, speaking to the Guardian. "It is clear that the long-term future of broadcasting is online, and the BBC needs to find new and exciting ways to help audiences make that transition, while bearing down on costs overall."

The budget for the youth-oriented channel, which draws 11.2 million viewers per week, will be redirected to produce dramas for BBC1. The BBC said that the move to digital-only will cost it viewership among 16-24-year-olds (that could fall by 3% to 3.5%) as well as black and lower-income women (5%).

"We know young audiences are already moving towards the online future, but we do recognise in the short-term some of them will feel the immediate impact of the BBC3 proposals," Fairhead said. "We are therefore asking the BBC for commitments to ensure it uses the full range of its television services to better serve young people and others who make up BBC3's audience."