BBC Three is to return to linear transmission, six years after it went online.
It follows research published as part of the BBC’s 2020/21 annual plan, which demonstrated there was still an available audience on broadcast television for the youth-skewing channel.
Programmes including Killing Eve, Fleabag and Normal People commissioned by BBC Three have gained a terrestrial audience through branded blocks on BBC One and BBC Two. The BBC now wants to harness younger audiences who spend more time with the BBC than any other brand – but are not tuning to it’s linear channels.
Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer said: “The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK. So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again. It has exciting, groundbreaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using BBC iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”
The rebooted channel will launch in January 2022 sharing a channel with CBBC that will screen fewer acquired productions It will be targeted at audiences aged 16-34 and broadcast from 7pm to 4am each day, the same as the hours of the channel when it closed in 2016.
Pre-watershed (9pm) content will effectively have a 13 rating making it suitable for an audience that has graduated from the children’s service.