More than four years after going online-only, BBC Three could reportedly make a return to linear TV.
The Beeb first revealed its plans to reinvent the youth-focused channel in December 2014, and it migrated online on February 16, 2016.
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However, late last week the Daily Mail reported that discussions about bringing BBC Three back to linear TV had taken place. According to the Guardian, “BBC insiders” have confirmed that there have indeed been talks, but rumours surrounding the channel’s potential return to TV was “speculation”.
However, the same sources reportedly fell short of ruling the move out completely.
The main reason behind BBC Three’s switch from a broadcast channel to an online channel was cost-cutting.
“The changes … will generate savings of £50m, which will be reinvested into BBC Three online, as well as strengthening BBC One,” the BBC announced back in 2014.
It added that the switchover would also enable new formats, interactive content and experimentation.
Ahead of the switchover, Damian Kavanagh, who was leading the BBC Three proposal at the time, had said: “It’s become clear that for young audiences, their shift from linear to TV to online is already happening.
“It now represents 28 percent of the average daily viewing for 16-24s, with forecasts from Enders Analysis suggesting this will be as high as 40 percent by 2020. Our proposal is to re-invent BBC Three for the digital age and to take risks with ideas, talent and technology.”
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The then-director of television for the BBC, Danny Cohen, had said: “I’m truly very excited about the plans we are developing, both in terms of what they will mean for the future of BBC Three and what we can learn to drive the whole of the BBC forward in a time of relentless digital and technological change.
“I don’t want us to sit back as a legacy company and watch as generational change bites away at our impact – I want us to be at the forefront of that change.”