THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION (BBC) has announced that its BBC 3 channel is set for the high jump, and will move to an iPlayer-only service in the autumn of 2015.
The BBC is making the cut as part of cost saving measures, with the public broadcaster claiming that canning BBC 3 will save it £50m annually, £30m of which will be added to the BBC One's budget. This, the BBC says, will be spent on more original drama programmes, alongside a BBC +1 channel.
While it's good news for the Beeb's cash flow, it's not good news for fans of Family Guy and Don't Tell The Bride, with these shows set to only be available via iPlayer from autumn next year.
Despite having said earlier this year that the BBC would not consider axing a channel, the news of BBC 3's demise came from BBC director general Tony Hall. He said in a statement on Thursday, "We should close BBC Three as a broadcast or linear channel. I believe it's the right thing to do: young audiences - the BBC Three audience - are the most mobile and ready to move to an online world.
"25 percent of viewing by 16-24 year olds is to catch-up or other screens and over the next few years we expect that to reach 40 percent. We recognise that, for now, most of this audience still do their viewing on television, and that is why we plan to show BBC Three's long-form content on either BBC One or BBC Two."
"I am certain that this decision is strategically right - but it's also financially necessary too," Hall concluded.
While the cut is all but done and dusted, subject to approval by the BBC Trust, news of BBC 3's demise hasn't gone down well with celebrites whose shows are featured on the channel.
Matt Lucas, who stars in BBC 3 comedy Little Britain posted on Twitter, "Hearing horrible rumours about the possible closure of BBC3. This would be really bad for new comedy. Like, REALLY bad." µ
Tags: Digital Media