Analysis & Opinion

Comment: No need to say ‘bye’ to BBC Three – you can watch it online!

BBC is to make BBC Three a completely online channel

BBC is to make BBC Three a completely online channel

Comment from TV Connect producer Emma Hosgood

Having just read that campaigners will be delivering a petition (signed by 270,000 people!) to the BBC in an attempt to stop BBC Three from becoming an online-only channel, I have to admit to being quite surprised to see such a strong reaction to this move away from traditional broadcasting.

For the last year I have been working on our global series of TV Connect events and one of the overriding themes for all the conferences we research is how broadcasters and pay-TV providers can continue to engage with young people, in the generation of widely available online, mobile and OTT content.

Young people are the biggest demographic of those that have shunned traditional broadcasting, and are constantly discussed as if they were only accessing content online, through their mobiles, tablets and connected devices.

However, the news that BBC Three (a popular channel among this supposed cord-cutting generation), will become reinvented as an online channel has not been well received.

Although the channel will still be available online through BBC iPlayer, many are angry at this proposal for the BBC to close a television channel for the first time in the history of the institution.

Other meanwhile have tried to focus on this as an opportunity to bring the BBC into the digital age, providing an innovative online offering for young people, pointing out in addition that the DTT bandwidth saved by the move will be used for BBC+1 service – as well as an extra hour of children’s channel CBBC each day.

However, we can’t ignore the fact that it’s more than likely a pure cost-cutting exercise, as it will supposedly save the BBC over £50 million a year.

Personally I am keen to see how the BBC reacts to the petition, and whether they decide to go ahead with the move or find another way to cut costs and keep BBC Three on our TVs for a little longer.

Marina Kalkanis, Head of Core Services, Programmes On Demand, BBC and Nick Coulter, Head of Digital, BBC Worldwide will be appearing at TV Connect (28th – 30th April 2015 ExCel, London)


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