BBC Trust announces public consultation on BBC Three
In response, it will launch a public consultation on the proposals next month.
Following a discussion of the proposals by the Trust Services Committee on 3rd December 2014, the committee confirmed that the proposals will warrant a public value test, including public consultation, "so licence fee payers, audience groups and industry stakeholders have an opportunity to have their say on the proposals."
The public consultation on the proposals will start in January 2015, when the BBC Trust will publish details of the proposals, which will include the application from the BBC Executive, the service description prepared by the Trust Unit and a timetable for the process.
According to a statement made by the BBC Trust today, "the Trust and Ofcom will now agree terms of reference for the Market Impact Assessment (MIA) to be conducted by Ofcom, and the Public Value Assessment (PVA) to be conducted by the Trust. The Trust will also prepare a service description, which sets out in detail the Executive proposals and serves as a basis for the assessment."
The Trust confirmed that its "priority throughout will be to listen to the views of audiences and stakeholders."
The move is seen as being controversial; earlier this year research for the BBC Trust revealed that the other three main BBC channels attracted similar audiences - all with viewers on average around 60 years of age, slightly male skewed and upmarket. Only BBC Three broke the mould, leaving many licence fee payers underrepresented.
The BBC Executive points out that BBC Three's viewers are the most likely to make the switch to online delivery. Some argue that by disregarding the next generation of BBC viewers, this doesn't bode too well for the other BBC linear channels in the future, when current audiences die out.