Trust begins public consultation on BBC Three proposals

Date: 20.01.2015     Last updated: 03.03.2015 at 09.32

The BBC Trust today begins its public value test (PVT) of the BBC Executive’s proposals for the closure of BBC Three as a broadcast channel in the autumn of 2015 and the re-invention of BBC Three as an online only offer; the evolution of BBC iPlayer from primarily a catch-up service to one that also offers online-first BBC content and selected third-party content; the launch of a +1 channel for BBC One; extended hours for CBBC; and increased investment in drama on BBC One.

As the Trust has previously confirmed, these proposals represent a significant change to the UK public services. In its regulatory role as set out in the Agreement, the Trust is therefore required to conduct a public value test, including a public consultation, so licence fee payers, audience groups and industry stakeholders have an opportunity to have their say on the proposals.

The public can contribute their thoughts on the four proposals by filling in the online form on the Trust website. This is the first period of public consultation and will run until Tuesday 17 February. Guidance for organisations wishing to take part in the consultation can be found here.

A second period of public consultation will take place after the Trust has published its provisional conclusions.

The Trust has published accompanying information so audiences are clear about the changes being proposed and their implications:

The BBC’s Executive’s proposal, including any supporting documents

  1. BBC Executive application, PDF (955KB)
  2. Preliminary market impact assessment by Communications Chambers, PDF (996KB)
  3. Quantitative research findings by Communications Chambers, PDF (667KB)
  4. Audience research by PAPA, PDF (22MB)
  5. Equality impact assessment, PDF (165KB)

Note: The BBC Executive made a minor amendment to its market impact assessment which we re-published on 28 January 2015.

Service description by the Trust Unit

This document sets out a description of the proposals and provides clarity on the terms and scope of the proposals that will be assessed by the Trust during the PVT.

Service description, PDF (521KB)

Ofcom has also published details of its Market Impact Assessment of the proposals.

A PVT must normally be completed within six months although a longer timetable is permitted if justified by the circumstances. The Trust intends to complete this PVT within six months. However, given the nature of the proposals (in particular, the fact that a broadcast service is proposed to be closed and a new online service put in its place, and the complexities of assessing a package of proposals taken together), it will reconsider its position at the close of the first period of consultation.

We have set out more detail below of the various stages of the PVT process.

Diane Coyle, Vice Chairman, said:

"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the views of audiences and the wider industry are heard in any discussion about the proposed changes to BBC Three and to other BBC services. We encourage anyone interested to contribute to the consultation and have their say on the proposals."

Timetable of the PVT process

A public consultation formally begins the PVT process. The consultation is open for four weeks from Tuesday 20 January to Tuesday 17 February. 

The PVT includes a public value assessment of the proposals (PVA), undertaken by the Trust, and a market impact assessment (MIA), undertaken by Ofcom.

  • The PVA considers the likely value of the proposed changes to licence fee payers and to society more broadly. This will be assessed in terms of four key drivers of public value: reach; quality; impact and value for money. The Trust will also assess the extent to which the proposals support the delivery of the BBC’s public purposes.
  • The market impact assessment (MIA) assesses the impact of the proposals on alternative products and services.

The Trust considers the responses to the public consultation, the PVA and Ofcom’s conclusions on the MIA before publishing their provisional conclusions.

A second period of public consultation on the provisional conclusion then begins.

Once, this period of consultation has concluded, the Trust will analyse the results and reach a final conclusion, based on all the information it has gathered.