BBC1+1 proposal rejected

BBC Trust says the new channel would hit the profits of ITV and Channel 5 too severely and wouldn’t be watched by enough young people

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Plans to launch BBC1+1 have been stopped in their tracks by the BBC Trust.

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The governing body issued a provisional rejection of the proposal by BBC management to launch the service to replace the space on the Electronic Programme Guide [EPG] left by BBC3. Today the Trust also gave provisional approval to BBC3’s closure as a broadcast channel.

The BBC’s management had been hoping to launch the BBC1+1 catch up service which was seen as a crucial means of shoring up the viewing numbers and share of BBC1. Director general Tony Hall announced the plans in October 2013, describing the service as designed to “give people more of what they’ve already paid for”.

However the Trust said that the proposals would have an “adverse” effect on the rest of the industry “capturing viewing share for the BBC at the expense of commercial channels and reducing the profitability, in particular, of ITV and Channel 5″. 

The proposal had a “lack of distinctiveness” the Trust ruled in its interim adjudication today.

The body also said that a BBC1+1 channel would have a “limited impact” on viewers aged 16 to 34 “which means it would be unlikely to mitigate the impact of changes to BBC3”.

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Theoretically the BBC management can come back with a revised proposal before the interim decision is rubber stamped by the Trust, but sources say this is very unlikely to happen and if it does is even more unlikely to succeed.