BBC Three to return as broadcast channel next year

BBC Three will no longer be online only, the BBC has announced.

BBC Three logo

Today, the BBC has confirmed BBC Three will be returning to TV screens in January 2022.

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The broadcaster says the move is part of its drive to deliver more value to audiences.

BBC Three, which is home to the likes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Man Like Mobeen, went online only back in 2016 but the BBC’s Annual Plan 2020/21, published last year, outlined research which showed there remains an available audience on broadcast television for the channel.

In a statement today, the BBC said: “Three has been a real hit machine for the BBC, delivering some of our biggest performing shows from Killing Eve to Fleabag and Normal People.

“We believe in backing success and, having committed to double the investment on BBC Three commissions over the next two years, we want to showcase that content to a wider audience. Using both a broadcast channel and BBC iPlayer in tandem, will help to grow our offer and deliver more value to younger audiences.

“While the BBC does well with large parts of the younger audience – on average, young adults in the UK spend more media time per week (seven and a half hours) with BBC’s services than any other brand; our research identified a significant group of younger viewers who maintain a strong linear TV habit but are currently light users of the BBC. We want to change that.”

Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer added: “BBC Three is a BBC success story, backing creativity, new talent and brave ideas has resulted in hit after hit, from Fleabag and Man Like Mobeen, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Jesy Nelson’s Odd One Out, to Normal People and This Country.

“The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK.  So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again. It has exciting, ground breaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”

The broadcaster has stated that the linear BBC Three channel will “do more for diverse, underserved audiences” across the UK, and aims to spread at least two-thirds of the programme spend outside of London, spreading it across the UK.

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