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BBC3 ends linear broadcast

BBC3 ended linear broadcasting with an episode of Gavin & Stacey

BBC3 ended linear broadcasting with an episode of Gavin & Stacey

BBC3 in the UK has become online-only after the UK pubcaster pulled the plug on the linear channel.

The youth-skewing network launched in 2003 to replace BBC Choice but concluded yesterday evening with the first episode of comedy Gavin & Stacey, which first aired on BBC3.

The decision to move the channel online was first proposed in 2014 and given approval by the BBC Trust last year, with the broadcaster’s governing body citing the popularity of online rather than linear services among younger viewers.

A petition to stop BBC3’s closure attracted more than 300,000 signatures and was supported by Hat Trick boss Jimmy Mulville and Avalon’s Jon Thoday, who suggested they could buy the channel – an offer dismissed by the BBC.

Longform and shortform programming as well as blogs, social media and image galleries are now available on the BBC3 online portal, with interactive show Love Triangle (8×8′), drama Clique and Life Hacks with Ben Hart all available.

Two new platforms are also being launched, with The Best Of bringing together original longform programmes and a range of new content, including shortform films.

The Daily Drop, meanwhile, will host a “stream of daily content including shortform videos, blogs, social media, image galleries, trending stories and daily updates from news and sport.”

The BBC has said all original programming that airs through the new-look BBC3 will subsequently repeat on linear channels BBC1 or BBC2.

Tom Williams, CEO at digital platform builder Ostmodern, which worked on Channel 4’s All4 service, said the move would prove shrewd in the long run.

“I disagree with the recent negative views that BBC3’s shift to online-only will damage the development of future television audiences and new talent, both on and off screen,” he said. “What these critics seem to forget is that BBC3’s audience is not representative of the average TV viewer.

“The reality is that younger audiences are leaning more and more towards bite-sized on-demand content. The broadcaster’s new Daily Drop content section will not be pitted against established broadcast channels or VoD services in this regard. Instead, it will be going head-to-head with current heavyweights in the shortform content environment – YouTube and Facebook Video.

“Ultimately, by taking an online-only approach for BBC3, the BBC will be in an even stronger position than before to identify what’s working and what isn’t. In this regard, the BBC has become the first traditional broadcaster to properly adapt to today’s on-demand world.”

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