It is not surprising to learn today the BBC Trust has approved the online-only move. It claims to be on the side of the viewer, but has ignored viewers throughout this lengthy and costly process. Some will argue this was a done deal from the start with the BBC Trust chair expressing support for the move before consultation begun. Even the BBC admits in reports there was “very little appetite” for these plans, but they pressed ahead.
The decision is bitterly disappointing and it is a very sad day for the future of the BBC. The BBC said the reason for doing this was to find £30m to fund programming for BBC1, that’s a television service already hugely funded by our licence fee. With The Voice now lost by the BBC it will save about the same amount they needed from closing BBC3. But the BBC failed to make that connection. It appears this is an example of young people being hit the hardest by cuts yet again.
They claim young people are moving away from watching live television. I believe the key reason why young adults are turning their back on television is not because they’re not interested, it’s because it’s one of the main areas television networks cutback on when it comes to cuts. The BBC admits their online-only version of BBC3 will be less value for money and it will bring fewer viewers. Yet it’s ignoring these facts as it ploughs on with a decision the very people that fund the BBC do not support. Still the BBC’s loss is E4 and ITV2’s gain – no doubt they will be the main benefactors from this should BBC3 go in March.
We will now mull over this decision. If the decision can be challenged independently of the BBC and BBC Trust we will do so. With hundreds of thousands on our side there’s still time to challenge this sham process.
Over 300,000 signed the consultation at change.org/savebbc3
Read our 12-page dossier submitted to the BBC Trust explaining why the plans are wrong here.