The amount of time spent watching BBC three plummeted by 89% after the channel ceased linear broadcasts.The first-of-its-kind research by City, University of London published by Enders Analysis, found 89% fewer minutes were viewed. Even when relays of BBC Three shows such as Killing Eve and Fleabag on other BBC channels are included, viewing minutes still fell by 72%.
The study also estimates BBC Three’s audience shrank by 60–70% after its broadcast platform was closed – a much steeper decline than that of the channel’s competitors, who continued to broadcast.
Author, Neil Thurman, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Journalism at City, University of London and Professor at LMU Munich, suggests that the BBC is right to be considering bringing the channel back to linear television if they want to attract more attention from BBC Three’s 16–34-year-old target audience.
“Time spent with BBC Three fell just as sharply as it has at other media brands, like The Independent and the New Musical Express (NME)”, says Dr Thurman, suggesting that the negative effects on time spent caused by closing their offline platforms are similar for TV stations and print publications. “The size of BBC Three’s weekly and monthly audience, in common with most of its competitor TV channels, was declining before it reinvented itself online. However, its decision to stop broadcasting resulted in sharp drops.”
In May the BBC said “considering the case” for bringing back BBC Three for linear transmission. It’s also expected to receive an increase to its programming budget.
Its removal from terrestrial, satellite and cable platforms in February 2018 was designed to save the BBC around 30 million pounds a year.