Younger TV viewers dismayed by the BBC’s plans to move BBC3 online next year have received a rare piece of good news: Channel 4 is to give youth channel E4 a budget boost to try and capture some of its viewers.
Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham used the Edinburgh International Television Festival to criticise the BBC’s decision and reveal his plans to take advantage of it.
Abraham revealed in his flagship MacTaggart Lecture delivered this evening: “On E4, young people – now the most diverse group for the UK – see it as a terrestrial channel for them. So we’ll invest further in E4 next year. Good for them. And for the the PSB [Public Service Broadcasting] system. Not least because there’s radioactive waste stored two miles underground buried less thoroughly than BBC3 will be.”
Channel 4 would not confirm the sums involved but E4’s budget boost will be shown on screen in time for the move of BBC3 – the home of hit shows including the comedy Bluestone 42 and the zombie drama In the Flesh – online in autumn 2015.
Under the BBC’s plans, the money saved from the channel’s move will go to the areas of the BBC’s output, with an extra £30m going to drama.
The formal submission of the plans – due in weeks – will trigger a Public Value test which will be considered by the BBC’s regulatory body, the BBC Trust, which has to give the plans the green light.
This means that public and industry figures will be able to comment on the proposals in a process which is expected to take six months.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.