Reasons to fight for BBC3

We know that closing the channel on TV and moving some content online with programming cuts is wrong, but here’s more information about why we want to keep BBC3 on TV.

Grinds My Gears BBC3BBC3 has dared to be different

  • BBC3 has won more awards than any of its competitors.
  • It won Broadcast Award’s ‘Channel of the Year’ in 2014, and has been nominated again in 2015.
  • It is the only BBC channel that dares to be different and nurtures new talent. Matt Lucas, David Walliams, James Corden, Jack Whitehall, and Russell Howard all got their big break-through from BBC3.
  • That’s why stars like Greg James, Russell Kane, Nick Grimshaw, Heydon Prowse, and Jolyon Rubinstein have spoken out. They want others to enjoy the success that they have.
  • Where else will the BBC be able to test out new ideas with such big young audiences? How many risks has BBC1 taken lately?

Moving online and without a lot of the good stuff

  • The BBC says it’s a ‘reinvention’ but the fact is it will be taken off our television screens and only some content will be moved online.
  • You won’t be able to watch the channel in the same way you see it on TV. Instead of 30 minute and 1 hour programmes it will mostly be shorter video clips that can be shared on social media. Theyy won’t have to fill a schedule either.
  • There will be a reduced budget for programming of about £30m. These ‘online’ proposals are a smoke-screen for the cuts.
  • The BBC claims the new shows they produce will appear on BBC1 and 2 at some point later in the evening, but there’s no guarantee this will continue to happen long-term.
  • 20% of budget will be spent on social media like Gifs, Tumblr, and Snapchat rather than television.
  • Shows like Family Guy and American Dad will not stay with BBC3. They will move to other BBC channels late at night with no guarantee they will stay on BBC TV for long. Their words are “for the time being”.
  • Don’t Tell The Bride is moving to BBC1 but it’s being messed with so that older people enjoy it.
  • BAFTA-award winning dramas like In The Flesh will be axed because the budgets are smaller, and BBC3 will only have money for one drama a year.
  • On some platforms there is very little capacity to show extra music coverage on the red button. So TV coverage of Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, T In The Park will suffer without BBC3.
  • The BBC’s Director of News and Current Affairs in 2014 said there would be a “big gap” in getting news to young people with the loss of BBC3 and 60 Seconds News on TV.
  • Free Speech gives young viewers a platform on television to have their say – what other channel does this? Not enough young people vote, we need TV shows that give them reason to.
  • No other channel reaches out to young people with regular documentaries positively tackling the issues we face today – such as youth poverty, mental health, or disabilities.

Not everyone has fast internet

  • In 2014 OFCOM claimed 18% of homes are without mobile internet or broadband. 27% do not have a fixed broadband line.
  • As well as paying for a licence fee, BBC3 fans will now have to pay for internet fast enough to get the iPlayer.
  • In rural parts of Britain it’s still impossible to access the iPlayer due to poor broadband connections and a lack of 3G and 4G phone signal.

It will be less cost-effective

  • As well as cuts to programme budgets, it will be less cost-effective. Currently BBC3 costs 6.9p per user per hour. The BBC predicts if it moves online-only it will cost 23p per user per hour.
  • Licence fee money will be spent on YouTube, Buzzfeed, and Facebook video partnerships rather than staying within the BBC.
  • BBC1 already has a huge budget, the BBC propose reusing what money is saved from BBC3 on BBC1 drama.

A BBC1+1 will replace it – but not for everyone

  • If the BBC’s argument is that we are all using iPlayer instead of TV why are they launching a BBC1+1? Contradictory.
  • Not everyone will be able to get BBC1+1 on Freeview as it will require the technology used in HD boxes or a YouView box, and it will be SD only.
  • The BBC will still have to spend a lot of money replacing BBC3 with BBC1+1 because it will still require the same transmission costs to broadcast on Sky, Virgin and Freeview. The BBC don’t mention this in their proposals.
  • And popular BBC1 programming for young already gets a repeat on BBC3 (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Eastenders).
  • Moreover is launching a BBC1+1 really the sort of spend the BBC should be making when it says it needs to save money?

So will extra CBBC hours

  • The BBC is spending BBC3 money on extending CBBC with extra repeats – even though they say young people are better adapted to watching programming online. More contradictions.

Audience is predicted to drop

  • BBC metrics in 2014 showed BBC3 was more valued by people than even Radio 1 and BBC1.
  • It reaches a bigger audience than BBC4 which isn’t being cut, and for longer.
  • Films on BBC3 over Christmas even beat popular shows like Alan Carr on Channel 4 as people tuned to the channel for family entertainment.
  • The BBC admits audiences will drop when BBC3 moves online.
  • There is “little appetite” for the closure of BBC Three from viewers, according to the research the BBC have produced. Just 14% of those questioned said moving the channel online was a favourable option.
  • 267,000 people have already signed our petition against the move.
  • It’s not their money, but the public’s money, the BBC managers needs to listen to us.
  • BBC3 currently has a 1.5% audience share – decent for a small target audience. BBC1+1 wouldn’t bring in that many more viewers with a predicted 1.6% share.
  • The BBC Trust said in 2014 BBC3 was the best channel to serve young and diverse audiences compared to any other BBC channel, and that the BBC was failing these audiences overall.
  • What happens if audiences drop to such a small level? Does the BBC close BBC3 online too?

Young people are facing the worst of the cuts… again

  • The BBC faces cuts because the current government has made the BBC take on more expensive responsibilities with no extra money. For instance, paying to help with broadband rollout (£300m) and paying for commercial local TV projects (£25m). BBC3 costs a fraction of that (£85m).
  • Without BBC3 the BBC will become older, whiter, and more middle class.
  • This seems to be ideological and pleases critics of the BBC.
  • Director General Tony Hall has kept BBC4, diverted money to what he enjoys (the arts), and scrapped BBC3 which newspapers like the Daily Mail have historically criticised.
  • Young people have felt the biggest brunt of government cutbacks. The government has frozen the licence fee and made the BBC take on some more expensive projects. The result is these cuts, so it’s young people suffering again.
  • These people will be funding the future of the BBC, what encourages them to pay into the BBC in years to come if they grow up with nothing that is aimed at them?

We still watch TV!

  • Linear TV is still popular – who doesn’t enjoy watching TV and tweeting about it along with others?
  • Or watching television as a family rather than one person in front of a tablet?
  • The move has been criticised by Sky and Channel 4 who are investing in young audiences who watch TV. They see the potential. As does Channel 5 that was recently bought for £450m.
  • A number of companies have even tried to buy BBC3 – they recognise the potential too.


Sign the Petition


*N.B  I am a big fan of the BBC. Do not take this as a criticism of BBC4 – I support it as well as BBC3.