Director-General Tony Hall said he wanted the online BBC Three to be a pathfinder of future services.
“The BBC has always embraced changed even when it’s been really difficult. I remember the rows when we launched BBC news online and now it’s an essential service. The challenge we have is to maintain the strength of our core channels.”
The move has been brought about by the combination of the licence fee being held at current levels and the taking on of additional responsibilities such as World Service and S4C.
“By searching out new ways to engage and entertain young audiences in their terms, the new BBC Three will be a great example of how we can reinvent public service for the digital world – using their talent, appearing on the platforms and devices that they use, and taking them as equals and partners,” Lord Hall said.
In proposals submitted to the BBC Trust the online BBC Three would replace the current linear version in Autumn 2015. It would have a dedicated website with long form programming and a curated daily schedule from where viewers could jump to other shows from earlier in the day’s schedule.
There would also be links to short form content that would appear through sites including YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
Examples of the kind of shot form programming include micro video, animations and photo galleries that would be linked to the long form shows.
All the long form content would eventually be repeated on either BBC One and BBC Two. 80% of the overall BBC Three content budget – reduced from £50 million to £30 million per year – would be spent on long form content.
Two editorial pillars would form the back bone of the new output. “Make me Think” and “Make me Laugh”. Feature and formatted shows would be significantly reduced.
At the same time children’s programmes on CBBC will be extended by two hours and a new BBC One +1 channel will launch. The BBC says these moves will help mitigate any short term loss in 16 to 34 audiences.