The BBC has today confirmed that it will be closing the BBC Three channel by Autumn 2015 if the plans are agreed to by the BBC Trust.
Yesterday news broke that in a bid to save £100 million in funds from the BBC budget, the Beeb was looking to shut down the youth-orientated BBC channel with the aim to move many of its program to iPlayer.
Since the announcement a huge public outcry has built up, with many famous faces from the channel weighing in on the idea to close the station. However, Tony Hall has confirmed today that the BBC plans on turning BBC Three into a “new and innovative online service”, subject to the BBC Trust’s approval.
The need to cut over £100 million in costs has been made apparent since Tony Hall took over as BBC Director-General last year, but few suspected that the BBC would take such a drastic measure to recoup the costs. It’s said that the move would save over £50 million for the BBC and that of that £50 million, £30 million will be re-invested into BBC One drama content.
Hall has stated that the closure of BBC Three is a “strategically right” move and a “financially necessary” in an email to BBC staff. He has also tried to justify the need to cut costs by saying:
“The BBC is living with a licence fee that for five years will have been flat – it will not have gone up at all” and that “we are absorbing extra costs that we were asked to take on – for the World Service, S4C and the roll-out of broadband.”
Hall also says that “This is the first time in the BBC’s history that we are proposing to close a television channel.
“I can’t rule out it being the last change to our programmes or services. It will save the BBC over £50 million a year. £30 million of that will go into drama on BBC One.
“And it also means we will extend Children’s programmes by an hour a night and provide a BBC One +1 channel. I must stress – all of this is what we are proposing to the BBC Trust. They will have the final say.”
So we lose BBC Three, gain an hour extra of children’s TV and get a BBC+1 service… it’s a bit of a bum deal for the people in BBC Three’s target demographic of age 16 – 34 if you ask us.
However, a swift turnaround could be seen as the backlash may make the BBC Trust change Hall’s plans just like what happened when BBC Radio 6 Music was proposed to be shut down in 2010.
For more information check out the BBC News website.