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.