Plans to turn BBC Three into a 24/7 online channel based around comedy and “thought provoking” programmes have been published today.
BBC bosses first announced their intention to axe the current broadcast version of the channel in February, claiming the move would save £50m per year.
If approved by the BBC Trust, the new BBC Three would experiment with different programme lengths, formats and quick turn around shows responding to news and other developments.
However channel bosses promise that 80% of content would still be traditional “long form” programming such as Bad Education and Uncle.
Broadcasting space freed up by axing the current version of BBC Three would be used to launch a BBC One+1 service.
Although BBC Three would become a primarily online channel, some programmes would be made available on-demand via Sky, YouView, Freesat and Virgin.
Additional content would be shared via sites such as Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
BBC Director-General Tony Hall said: “With the licence fee frozen we’ve had to make difficult decisions – and none more so than our proposal to move BBC Three online. In rising to this challenge, we’ve managed to come up one of the most exciting and ambitious proposals I’ve seen since I came back to the BBC.
“By searching out new ways to engage and entertain young audiences on their terms, the new BBC Three will be a great example of how we can reinvent the public service for the digital world – using their talent, appearing on the platforms and devices that they use and talking to them as equals and partners.”
Danny Cohen, the BBC’s Director of Television, said it was no longer possible to make savings “by simply salami-slicing” budgets while still serving licence fee payers.
The BBC Trust’s consultation on the proposals will begin in January 2015.