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BBC Three goes online-only in March 2016

The BBC plans to turn youth network BBC Three into an online-only service from March 1, 2016 and increase the volume of BBC Threeshows on BBC One and Two from the autumn.

Damian Kavangh is overseeing the process

Damian Kavangh is overseeing the process

In a response to the June ruling in which the BBC’s governing body provisionally approved taking BBC Three online-only, the BBC Executive said that it will run a temporary BBC Three channel from January 2016 until the end of February 2016, to inform remaining audiences who were not aware that BBC Three was moving online.

At the same time it will gradually ramp up BBC Three’s online activity from this summer, increase the volume of BBC Three programmes on BBC One and Two in autumn 2015 and increase marketing around BBC Three online – including greater use of social media.

The BBC Executive said in a statement that it anticipates showing one to two hours of BBC Three originated content per week on BBC One and/or BBC Two and noted that “later night slots are the most favourable for youngeraudiences”.

It added that the overall marketing budget for the new BBC Three service in 2015/16 will be equivalent to roughly half of the BBC’s overall off-air marketing budget for that year, compared to 18% of the BBC’s overall paid-for media spend in 2014/15.

“From 1 March 2016, BBC Three will exist as an online service only. The focus will continue to be on a) pushing audiences to the new BBC Three Online and b) navigation to BBC Three repeats on BBC One and Two,” said the BBC Executive.

The BBC said that the reimagined BBC Three online will be “more than just an online version of its linear predecessor or a handful of long-form programmes within a BBC Three branded space in BBC iPlayer”, and that talent will play a role in creating and curating BBC Three content.

“Rather than creating a single destination for BBC Three audiences, we would like BBC Three content to be available across the BBC’s services – on a dedicated branded space on bbc.co.uk, on programme pages on BBC Online, on BBC iPlayer, on BBC One and BBC Two and on Connected Red Button,” said the BBC Executive.

The BBC Trust has now launched its second public consultation on the BBC Executive’s proposals to: close BBC Three as a broadcast channel and reinvent it online; launch a +1 channel for BBC One; evolve BBC iPlayer; and extend the hours of CBBC.

In June the Trust provisionally approved the plans for BBC Three, the iPlayer and for CBBC, but provisionally rejected the BBC One +1 proposal. The new consultation will seek views from the public and stakeholders about these conclusions and will run until September 30.

“Our provisional conclusions sought to ensure that the BBC’s services remain distinctive, innovative and relevant to all its audiences, while working within ever tighter funding constraints,” said BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll gather more views about the BBC’s proposals and the mitigations we’ve put forward to address concerns raised. We will carefully consider the responses and all of the evidence before making our final decision.”