BBC Three given green light to return to TV screens by watchdog

The BBC plans to relaunch the channel in January next year to better serve younger audiences

BBC Three will return to a broadcast TV channel after being provisionally approved by watchdog Ofcom.

The channel has been an online-only service since it was taken off the air in 2016, and carried popular series including Fleabag, Killing Eve and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

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When will the channel launch?

The broadcaster said it  plans to relaunch the channel in January next year in order to better meet the needs of 16 to 34 year old audiences who watch broadcast TV on a weekly basis, but are only light users of the BBC.

Ofcom assessed the plans as part of its remit to promote “fair and effective competition”.

The watchdog concluded that there could be “some loss in viewing for commercial broadcasters”, which may translate in a loss in advertising revenues.

However, Ofcom said it would not impact the viability of rival stations.

It said: “We agree with the BBC that there is personal and social public value associated with the proposals.

“If the BBC can achieve the aims of the proposal of providing underserved younger audiences with a deeper engagement with BBC content, we consider that it could have significant short and longer-term benefits.

“Overall, we have provisionally concluded that the additional public value created by the proposals justifies the limited adverse impact on fair and effective competition.”

A public consultation on the plans has been launched, which will come to an end on 14 October.

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