As predicted yesterday, the BBC is shuttering its BBC Three channel. It will be “reinvented,” says the BBC, as an online service. This will result at a cost savings of over £50M per year at a time when the broadcaster is looking to slash $100M in costs. BBC Three has catered to a young audience with shows like Little Britain and Gavin And Stacey. The BBC considers the audience the most “mobile and ready to move to an online world.” Longform content once seen on BBC Three will move to either BBC One or BBC Two. The closure will also mean an extra £30M per year for BBC One which will funnel the money into drama series. BBC director-general Tony Hall wrote to staff today, “My concern – along with that of everybody I meet inside and outside the BBC – is to ensure that the quality of what we do is not compromised along the way. We are here to produce exceptional and distinctive programs and services for Britain and the world. But I do believe, as I said only last week, that the BBC has taken incremental change as far as it can. Something has to give. And that means hard choices.” BBC Three will go off air in the fall of 2015 in what is the first time in BBC history that the corporation is proposing to close a television channel; the move has to be approved by the BBC Trust. Hall said he couldn’t “rule out it being the last change to our programs or services.” BBC controller Danny Cohen added, “This is the biggest strategic decision the BBC has made in over a decade. While it has been an extremely difficult decision borne out of financial necessity, I believe it is also a creatively energizing and innovative move… BBC Three will continue to do all the things we love but it will also have the freedom to break traditional shackles and allow the BBC to be a leader in digital change… and it will allow the BBC to be ready for the next waves of disruptive digital disruption.” BBC Three was launched in 2003 and is currently the channel with the biggest 16-34 market share in the UK.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.