BBC Three to begin rebroadcasting next year

BBC Three - which had a huge hit with Normal People - is coming back as a broadcast channel!

The BBC today announced they will be bringing back BBC Three as a broadcast channel.

Since 2016, BBC Three shows have only been available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Thanks to the titanic success of such popular shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, Normal People, and Killing Eve, the BBC has committed to bringing the channel back.

If Ofcom approves the move, the new channel will begin rebroadcasting in January 2022.

In a statement, the broadcaster said it will “double the investment on BBC Three commissions over the next two years”.

They hope to build on the digital platform’s success, using the returning channel and iPlayer together to reach the widest audience possible.

As before, the channel will target the 16-34 age bracket and will broadcast from 7pm to 4am. Because the new channel will share bandwidth with CBBC, this does mean that CBBC’s broadcast hours will go back to ending at 7pm each day.

These are the exact same hours that the BBC operated the two channels in 2016. The only difference is that the new channel will host pre-watershed content aimed at the 13-plus age group from 7pm.

Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, said the channel “has exciting, groundbreaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using BBC iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”

The Beeb also hopes to foster creativity and diversity through the new channel. The statement says the broadcaster will aim for at least two-thirds of the expanded programming spend for the new channel to be distributed UK-wide, outside of London. 

Plans for the return were initially made in the BBC’s Annual Plan 2020/21. The Beeb will start the Public Interest Test process later this week. They’ll publish a public consultation document on Friday March 5.

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