BBC_Three_ident_2013_900The live broadcast version of BBC Three is to close in February after the broadcaster’s governing body gave its final, formal approval to move youth-orientated BBC Three channel online.

Last year BBC Director-General Tony Hall said closing the broadcast channel would allow £30m to be invested in drama on BBC One which had been “falling off in a way I was not satisfied with”.

Preliminary approval for the plan was given earlier this year but the BBC Trust asked managers for further assurances that viewers without “reliable internet access” would still be able to access BBC Three content.

It’s now been agreed that all of the channel’s programmes, including its new Doctor Who spin-off Class, will be shown on BBC One or Two “immediately on closure of the BBC Three TV channel” and “at a variety of times across the schedule and throughout the UK.”

In addition BBC One and Two’s remits will be amended to require them “to offer distinctive programmes designed for younger audiences.”

BBC Trustee Suzanna Taverne said: “The decision to close a TV channel is a difficult one, and one we have not taken lightly. 

“The BBC must adapt with its audiences; the evidence is very clear that younger audiences are watching more online and less linear TV. 

“The plans enable the BBC to deliver more distinctive content online, while bearing down on costs; to address concerns about the impact of moving BBC Three online, we have set new requirements for programmes for younger audiences on BBC One and Two.”

Welcoming the Trust’s announcement, Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three, said: “Today is just the beginning for BBC Three and our plans to transform our offer for young people.

“We have lots of new content coming in 2016 and exciting new ways of delivering it in development. We will now set about launching a digital-first BBC Three in early 2016.”