Its official, BBC Three is set for a glorious return to TV after being greenlit by OFCOM.
Before being moved to an online-only format the channel was known for iconic programmes such as Gavin and Stacey, Killing Eve, Bad Education and Being Human. It was taken off air because young viewers had abandoned traditional viewing and the BBC decided an online-only version could better attract young audiences.
Over lockdown the channel’s show Normal People became a hit with viewers and the BBC decided to change its stance on the network. It argued that there is a “significant group of younger viewers who maintain a strong linear TV habit.”
BBC Three announced that they’d be returning to TV in February 2022 after nearly six year, exciting many who are fans of the channel’s content.
The corporation hopes to give BBC Three an annual budget of more than £70m in the aim it can maintain a linear TV schedule that appeals to a 16-34 demographic.
Hit series like ITV2’s Love Island demonstrated that linear programming can appeal to young audiences if the content is appealing to them and the show’s many popular shows as an online channel proved that it can produce content that fits the bill.
Competitors such as Sky had said that BBC Three’s return as a new public service channel would allow it to be placed in the top 24 channels and cause other channels to be moved down and potentially lose viewership.
However, today OFCOM ruled that the BBC may proceed with its proposal to bring BBC Three back to TV, publishing in their statement that they had “taken account of feedback from stakeholders in response” to them greenlighting it.
Reasoning for allowing the BBCs proposal to go ahead included it being able to reach a wider audience than it can online, including low-income young people and those outside of London.
In their final determination on the proposal they stated: “Although the proposed channel’s target audience is relatively small, we consider it to be a particularly important one.”