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24 September 2014
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BBC welcomes approval for BBC THREE

The BBC today welcomed the decision by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell, to approve proposals for BBC THREE, a new public service television channel aimed at young adults.

BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies said: "We would like to thank the Secretary of State for the approval she has given today.

"She has laid out some demanding conditions in the approval but the Governors agree that BBC THREE must be a high quality and distinctive public service channel and we shall ensure that those conditions are met.

"BBC THREE completes the BBC's portfolio of TV channels for the digital age and will help promote digital take up."

BBC Director-General Greg Dyke said: "BBC THREE is central in our drive to connect with young audiences. This has been a tough decision for the Secretary of State and, looking back, I think she was right to push us to define the channel more clearly.

"The new channel will be launched in the New Year, and I'm confident that it will bring a new public service concept to this currently underserved audience."

The Liquid News team - currently on BBC Choice, will be on BBC THREE - from left, Sam Singh, Colin Patterson, Julia Morris, Mark Frith and Claudia Winkleman

With fresh input from Jana Bennett, who was appointed Director of Television during the approvals process, the channel will have a mixed programme schedule, offering something completely new to the young adult audience.

Jana Bennett said: "BBC THREE should bring the best public service values to a younger generation and offer something very different from other digital channels.

"Current affairs, education, culture, science, business, finance and ethics are an important part of the programme mix for BBC THREE, as well as the key components of drama and entertainment.

"Approval is good news for both viewers and the TV production industry as a whole, as the programming will largely be original productions from talented BBC and independent producers across the UK.

"The creative team behind BBC THREE are raring to go and their ideas will bring enormous energy to the channel."

Stuart Murphy, currently Controller of BBC Choice, who helped develop the proposal, said: "It's great that the DCMS have given approval for BBC THREE.

"It's been a long time coming, but we are convinced that the mix of new and established talent and programme ideas we have in mind for BBC THREE will make it a uniquely creative channel.

"We are particularly excited that we will now be able to offer new writing, acting, presenting and production talent a place to experiment and grow."


BBC THREE's plans for intelligent and original entertainment and drama will represent the majority of the output.

However, the channel will also cover a wide range of programme genres.

More than a third of the programmes made for BBC THREE will be news, current affairs, education, music and the arts - around 15% of hours broadcast.

No other digital channel covers a full range of genres for young adults with a mixed schedule in peak.

BBC THREE will have a commitment to 15 hours of science, religion/ethics and business per year, a dedicated 15 minute news programme every weekday in peak and hourly bulletins until midnight.

It will also have a commitment to promoting new talent both on and off screen with at least six new talent initiatives each year.

The team working on BBC THREE will build on recent successes in the BBC Choice schedule including the North Eastern comedy Breezeblock; Diners, currently showing on BBC TWO; and the current affairs special War, Do or Die, presented by Jeremy Vine, about this generation's attitude to war after September 11th.

BBC THREE will also be an inherently multicultural, interactive channel with 80% of airtime devoted to programmes specially commissioned for the channel, and 90% of programming will be made in the UK.

At least one quarter of the BBC THREE programme budget will be spent on independent productions.

Notes to Editors

The proposal, which has been approved by the BBC Governors and its Executive Committee, has been assessed against the requirements of public service broadcasting and was submitted to the DCMS in December 2001.

The ITC confirmed in a report earlier this year that the likely impact on the television advertising market of BBC THREE would be around £7 million.

The previous submission was rejected by the DCMS in September 2001.

The channel will broadcast from 7.00pm until 4.00am each day.

BBC THREE joins BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC FOUR, CBBC and CBeebies as part of the BBC's portfolio of television channels.

BBC THREE and the other BBC digital channels will be available free-to-air on all digital platforms, including the forthcoming digital terrestrial platform Freeview.

Notes to Picture Editors

Pictures are available, for press use only, on the BBC's digital picture service "specials" folder.



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