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BBC THREE Everywhere

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Simon Nelson | 13:40 UK time, Tuesday, 22 January 2008

bbc_three_pipes.pngBBC THREE Controller Danny Cohen set out his plans for the future of the channel at a season press launch earlier today.

So as Controller of Multiplatform & Portfolio (basically, the person responsible for BBC television's digital media activities), I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why and how this relaunch is a flagship project for Vision's multiplatform strategy, which I laid out in September 2007.


Lily The PinkDanny revealed that BBC THREE is to become the first BBC channel to change from a linear service to a fully joined-up multiplatform venture. This means that all the channel's programmes, content and experiences can be available on TV, online, mobile, and on-demand platforms - and that's just the start.

The relaunch is not just about a new logo. It's about a new behaviour and attitude for the channel, which has the habits and preferences of its key audience - the elusive 16 to 34s - at its heart.

BBC THREE will be simulcast live on the web for the first time. Programmes will be available on demand for seven days after first transmission and in some cases previewed on the site in advance. This will make the channel's content vastly more accessible to audiences who wouldn't necessarily seek out or stumble across its programmes on conventional TV.

Programme information has been massively improved, with every episode of every programme now having a unique web presence (Sophie Walpole has blogged about this previously). Though initially basic, we hope this will grow into a fantastic resource that will make BBC THREE and its content more searchable and easily navigable as well as more findable and easier to link to.

We'll make better use of clips and short-form content, some of it specially commissioned to help audiences discover and sample what the channel is all about. This will enable them, over time, to take and embed BBC THREE content in their own sites. This will take the brand into the places where our audiences spend time - we won't assume that they'll always come to us - through appropriate partnerships, syndication and embeddable widgets.

We'll be adding more and more interactive and participative functions to the whole site so that we can thread rating, recommendation, improved comments systems and tagging through all of our content. By doing this, we hope to make BBC THREE the hub of a vibrant network of conversations across the web.

But, as well as getting these basics in place, this relaunch also pledges a commitment to interactive ideas at the heart of key commissions, and to making its audiences part of the channel.


People will be able to introduce their favourite BBC THREE programmes and talk about issues that matter to them, by uploading their clips via the web and by mobile, and the best will feature in our on-air junctions. Through the use of cross-platform techniques, programmes on BBC THREE - including a chat show fronted by social networking advocate Lily Allen - will mean that people will feel they own the channel.

lily_allen_billboard.pngWe'll be taking risks as well, trying to find the new forms of participative entertainment offered by a fusion of the web and TV. Watch out for
Upstaged, our ambitious (and therefore a bit scary for me) talent show where contestants build up their profiles, are voted into our specially designed performance areas, and have to keep the nation entertained for the small matter of six hours. It's a project where the website has led and the TV programme will be shaped by what happens there.


For the entire channel to be based around these principles marks a major step, I believe, in helping great BBC content to benefit and prosper from all the advantages offered by a digital world. This won't be just lip service: it's about making content playable in the ways that fit young audiences' preferences: online, on the move, and on demand. And it's about making it easier for young people to share the content they like - and discover the content they didn't know they liked.

But this is only the start. 2008 promises to be a year when the BBC unveils a host of exciting new developments throughout its channels. Watch out for new innovations and in the meantime keep an eye on www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree in February for the new world of Three.

I would welcome your thoughts and comments about the channel's relaunch.

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Simon Nelson is Controller, Multi-Platform & Portfolio, BBC Vision


  1. At 11:54 PM on 22 Jan 2008, Arun Prasannan wrote:

    Some of that sounds good. I fail to see how BBC Three (as it is currently at least) is aimed at young people. A few programmes (such as the fine Mighty Boosh) work for sure, but the majority are rather pathetic. BBC Four is far ahead in appealing to most "young people" I know. (Speaking of which, I hope that the Late Edition and Mighty Boosh don't clash again next season.)

  2. At 12:00 AM on 24 Jan 2008, Jake Anders wrote:

    Fantastic. I hope this is just the beginning of rolling out a fully multi-platform across all BBC services.

    Just don't underestimate us "young people" - I completely agree with Arun (1) when he says that BBC Four does a better job of appealing to most people I know at the moment. I'll know that your strategy is working correctly when I watch BBC Three more than Four.

    Oh, and don't neglect interactive radio services!

  3. At 12:15 AM on 24 Jan 2008, Xbehave wrote:

    "young people?"
    erm who are you going for, there are lots of young people who watch the daily show while others crippling at the thought of anything more intellectual than Xfactor.

    Live music appeals to young people for example but a 50 cent fan isn't going to watch arctic monkeys or metallica.

    I think your problem is that your not giving young people the variety they deserve.
    Maybe you should just make bbc3 a stupid channel and bbc4 a cleaver 1 and give bbc4 more attention!

    dumb channel: reality tv + family guy
    smart channel: documentries + current afairs + south park

  4. At 05:19 PM on 24 Jan 2008, fd wrote:

    BBC Three is good,but 8 hours each night of user generated content? Where are you going, love the new look homepage and i world love the BBC forever, ITV Suck!

  5. At 05:05 PM on 28 Jan 2008, t-o wrote:

    Getting 'down with da kids', eh?

    I'm sorry, but this sounds like the worst thing you could possibly do. At the risk of sounding like Charlie Brooker; Why can't making TV be left to those employed to make TV?
    'User generated content', to me, brings up visions of tacky You Tube videos, surely this has no place on a BBC channel. Now, I should point out i'm 16 years old, which places me on the youngest edge of your target audience and I would far rather watch 'QI' than 'tittybangbang'. The Ideas seem to be aimed at what people think young people like, not what they actually like.

    My Ideal channel would be something like 'Dave' with QI, HIGNFY and Mock the Week. Also with Live Music now and then and some science-y output like Horizon. I also love torchwood, but thats just fine on BBC2.

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