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[ARCHIVE] BBC DG announces plans to replace BBC Three with BBC One+1

BBC Three to be replaced by BBC One+1
The BBC's Director General Tony Hall has this morning confirmed that the Corporation plans to axe BBC Three as a linear channel and replace it with timeshift channel BBC One+1 from autumn 2015.

a516digital outlined this possibility yesterday evening.

£30 million from the closure of BBC Three would be ploughed into BBC One's drama budget and into the launch of BBC One+1, which would start at 8pm with a one hour timeshift of The One Show. The +1 channel would be a national service and available in HD. Starting at 8pm would avoid timeshifting regional news in the preceding hour.

The CBBC channel, with which BBC One+1 would share its bandwidth, would see its hours extended until around 7:57pm, before the video stream is switched to BBC One+1 for the evening.

Some of BBC Three's content would live on via the iPlayer, and what's left of its programming would be scheduled on BBC One or BBC Two after either the BBC News at 10 o'clock or Newsnight.

In further savings news, the BBC and S4C have announced cuts to Welsh soap Pobol y Cym, axing the omnibus and one weekly episode saving £1 million a year.

Tony Hall said in an email to BBC staff: "This is the first time in the BBC's history that we are proposing to close a television channel. I can’t rule out it being the last change to our programmes or services. It will save the BBC over £50 million a year. £30 million of that will go into drama on BBC One. And it also means we will extend Children's programmes by an hour a night and provide a BBC One +1 channel. I must stress - all of this is what we are proposing to the BBC Trust. They will have the final say."

Danny Cohen, the BBC's Director of Television said "In an ideal world we would not be making this move for a few more years. Given an entirely free hand I would make this change in about four or five years’ time, using the years between now and then to slowly shift the balance between linear and on-demand BBC Three content. That would be a safer, less risky strategy." 

The cut has been blamed on the licence fee freeze and the additional services that the BBC has to fund from the licence fee - BBC World Service and S4C. Critics point out that the BBC has wasted large sums of money on failed IT projects and staff payouts.

#saveBBC3 campaign
On Twitter, the #saveBBC3 hashtag is trending, and the petition to save BBC Three now exceeding 63,000 signatures. Responses on Twitter indicate a big "disconnect" between younger and olders audiences, with a strong indication that for many in BBC Three's target audience, the channel is the only BBC TV channel they view.

The Guardian reports Ash Atalla, producer of The Office as saying "It feels like a 60-year-old man in a golf jumper has walked into a really good nightclub and turned the music off so he can hear more Mozart next door."

Some in the local TV movement see the axing of BBC Three as an opportunity to move the new chain of local TV channels, including London Live and Made in Cardiff, to Freeview channel 7.

The final decision rests in the hands of the BBC Trust.

More on this subject:
BBC Trust expects public consultation to take place over plans to replace BBC Three with BBC One+1 on TV  

Since this article was published, new proposals for BBC One+1 have been published. According to the BBC Executive, the channel should be 24/7, but initially only available in Freeview HD households, despite only being broadcast in standard definition. The above article remains online for reference purposes, showing the original plan.