BBC Three is a “key initiative” in the UK pubcaster’s efforts to attract the hard-to-reach teen and tween audience, with plans for new commissions and show re-edits, following its recent return as a linear channel.
The channel was revived as a linear service earlier this year, following six years as online-only brand. Fiona Campbell, BBC Three controller, told TBI that while its target audience would remain the 16-34-year-old age group, the channel is however “looking at pre-watershed shows to either commission or reversion to make them age-appropriate. This is so we can build a relationship with a younger audience so they can grow up with BBC Three.”
Campbell described the return of BBC Three as a “key initiative” in bringing young audiences to the BBC and highlighted reality competition series Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star as the kind of show that could be edited to be suitable for pre-watershed audiences.
“We know that make-up as a subject is really popular with young audiences and we’re looking at other titles to play in that 7-9pm [time slot] that we think could be popular with young teens.”
Last month, BBC Three also commissioned Young MasterChef, which Campbell said “has lots of potential to reach this audience group” and pointed to comedies The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Pretty Little Liars, and drama series Waterloo Road, as shows available on the pubcaster’s VOD service, BBC iPlayer, that could further help to drive this younger audience to the BBC.
Campbell told TBI: “We have world-class children’s content on [kids brand] CBBC and we are working to bridge that gap with the re-introduction of BBC Three as a broadcast channel. We need to show that the BBC and, in particular BBC iPlayer, is an option at the table for young audiences and that they will find things they want to watch there.”
Campbell further highlighted the importance of BBC iPlayer, which she said had “transformed over the past few years from a catch-up service to an entertainment destination,” adding: “More young people are watching iPlayer than ever before and they’re returning more often and watching more of our content.”