BBC Three is set to return as a broadcast channel in January 2022, six years after it moved online.
After the success of several huge hits in the past few years, such as Normal People, Killing Eve, and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, it has been decided that BBC Three will come back as a TV channel, after moving online in March 2016. It has since then only been available online via BBC iPlayer.
Many of BBC Three’s most successful commissions have still ended up on TV through the BBC’s broadcast channels. For example, both Killing Eve and Fleabag aired on BBC One after premiering on BBC Three, which resulted in increased audience numbers.
Because of the success of its previous commissions, the BBC committed to double the spending on BBC Three commissions for the next two years, with its budget rising from £30-40 million to between £60-80 million. Bringing it back to broadcast TV at the same time will hopefully make it accessible to a wider audience.
‘‘We believe in backing success and, having committed to double the investment on BBC Three commissions over the next two years, we want to showcase that content to a wider audience,’’ a BBC spokesperson said.
This choice to bring the channel back was made after research conducted by the BBC suggested there was a strong case for it, particularly with a focus on younger audiences. The broadcast BBC Three is due to be targeted at audiences aged 16-34.
‘‘Our research identified a significant group of younger viewers who maintain a strong linear TV habit but are currently light users of the BBC,’’ the corporation said in a statement. ‘‘We want to change that.’’
The channel is due to come back in January 2022 and will broadcast every day between 19:00 and 04:00. As a result, CBBC’s broadcast hours will close at 19:00, just as it did before the changes in 2016.
Words by Alice Sjöberg