BBC Three is set to return to TV screens for the first time in six years, after Ofcom approved its relaunch as a broadcast television channel. The decision coincides with Ofcom’s fourth annual report on the BBC’s performance, which assesses, among other things, its progress in reaching underserved viewers and listeners.
The BBC submitted proposals to Ofcom to reinstate BBC Three as a traditional television channel – offering news, current affairs, factual, drama, entertainment and comedy, targeting viewers aged 16-34 who do not typically watch TV online. The new TV channel will re-launch in February 2022.
“We carefully assessed the BBC’s plans, alongside evidence and feedback gathered during our consultation. We concluded that the channel’s re-launch will help the BBC to increase its reach among younger underserved viewers – particularly those from lower-income homes, and audiences who live outside London and the South East,” Ofcom said.
To ensure the channel is distinctive, at least 75% of hours broadcast each year must be original programmes, commissioned by the BBC for UK viewers. Ofcom also requires the channel to deliver first-run UK content across a mix of genres, as well as weekday news programmes.