BBC Trust on closure of BBC3 as a broadcast service

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 12th February 2015

The panel: (left to right) Simon Murphy, Tracy McVeigh, Tim Singleton, Sara Pantuliano, Patrick Gathara, Halima Begum and Mark Galloway.

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Executive Summary

1. There is extensive evidence that engagement with the wider world leads to a more tolerant society which is able to do business with the wider world. These wider social benefits of international content which reaches a mass audience are IBT’s primary concern when encouraging the BBC to deliver its global purpose.

2. IBT’s research demonstrates that news and current affairs are the dominant sources of information about the world outside the UK and that, as a result of their focus on wars, conflicts and disasters, UK audiences have a distorted view of the world. This perception needs to be balanced with content which provides us with deeper understanding of the lives of people in other countries and the forces shaping our future.

3. BBC Three has played an important role in delivering the BBC’s global purpose for the past 12 years, providing an alternative model of international current affairs and factual programming. Its international current affairs content humanises many of the stories and issues we see on the news.

4. BBC Three attracts a younger audience than any other BBC television channel. This audience should not be deprived of content which is designed to engage them. If the BBC neglects this key sector of the audience, it is likely that they will migrate to other online platforms and any loyalty they had for the BBC will be diminished.

5. There is evidence that the public are looking for more distinctive, original and innovative content. BBC Three is the most distinctively innovative BBC television channel and therefore needs to remain on a broadcast platform which will provide reach and impact.

6. There is extensive evidence to demonstrate that live and recorded viewing is still the most popular means to consume audio visual content. If BBC Three’s content is moved to a primarily online platform it will have significantly less reach and impact than it does currently.

7. The proposals from the BBC Executive do not provide guarantees for the amount of new BBC Three factual and current affairs content or the retransmission of such content in a peak slot on either BBC One or BBC Two.

8. We understand that this proposal will not reduce overall expenditure by the BBC because the savings provided by moving BBC Three from its broadcast platform will be used to bolster other BBC services. IBT believes that the financial benefits which accrue to other BBC services from the closure of BBC Three as a broadcast platform are not significant enough to justify its closure.

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