UPDATE: The BBC has outlined its plans to axe BBC Three and introduce a BBC One 1 channel in 2015.
“In autumn 2014 we plan to close BBC Three as a linear TV Channel and in its place we will develop a bold, ambitious, future-facing new version of BBC Three online,” said Danny Cohen, Director of BBC TV. “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. It will not just be a TV channel distributed online.”
Earlier this week there were rumours BBC Three was in the BBC’s cross-hairs following the need to cut £100 million from the budget by 2016.
“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,” said Lord Tony Hall, BBC Director General. “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,” added Lord Hall.
Original Story: BBC Three will no longer be an on-air channel and will only be available via BBC iPlayer.
The move to get rid of BBC Three from your live TV programming is part of the BBC’s £100 million cost-cutting plans
An official statement is expected to be released on Thursday, but it is expected that the reason for the decision is to keep the culture-orientated BBC 4 on-air rather than BBC Three.
This means you’ll only be able to get certain shows shown on BBC Three, such as Don’t Tell the Bride and Pramface, via BBC iPlayer.
Prominent comedies like Jack Whitehall and Matt Lucas have been actively campaigning to save BBC Three, with Lucas adding the move would be “really bad for new comedy.”
“I really hope reports that the BBC may kill BBC3 are just rumours. Their support of new comedy in particular is vital,” said Whitehall.
“It’s not necessarily a youth channel, but it is younger-skewed”, said comedian Russell Kane. “I don’t see why it should be cut because people who are younger have quieter voices in the political process.”
Last week, BBC Director General Lord Tony Hall explained “tough choices” would have to be made if the BBC would be able to cut its spending.
“We are in the final stages of a budget process to find an extra £100m of savings,” said Hall at the Oxford Media Convention. “I will announce the outcome of those decisions next month.”
However, Hall earlier said that actually cutting a channel wasn’t a move the British broadcaster was even considering.
“I wouldn’t consider closing a channel. The public feel very strongly about all the services the BBC does. We have to find other ways [of saving the money]”, explained Hall to the World at One.
The BBC Three scrap will have to be approved by the BBC Trust first though, as the governing body is responsible for representing the licence fee payers.
Moving BBC Three online would be “a sizeable step” towards the £100 million savings goal by 2016, according to Broadcast newspaper.
BBC Three was the birth place of Little Britain, Being Human, Gavin & Stacey and Torchwood, which all became extremely successful.
Read more: Best TVs 2014