According to the Trust’s public value assessment, the closure of the service will save £30 million (€42 million) a year and its proposed online replacement will be “more distinctive than the existing BBC Three channel, whose audience is currently failing”.
However, the Trust called for a more carefully managed transition from broadcast TV to an online service, to raise awareness of the change, that could involve both services running in parallel for a time, and clear commitments from the BBC on programming for a younger audience.
It also called for a commitment on developing new talent in broadcast TV.
The Trust rejected the BBC’s plan to replace BBC Three with a time-shifted version of BBC One, saying the proposal lacked distinctiveness and would have an adverse impact on commercial broadcasters, particularly ITV and Channel 5.
The Trust accepted the BBC’s plans for BBC iPlayer to move beyond its original remit to include more online-first and third party content, delivered at minimal cost.
However, it said that it recommended that the BBC sets clear, objective criteria in relation to any third party content on iPlayer, and that it intends to make this a condition of approval, expressing some concerns that use of iPlayer to discover new content could have an adverse impact on commercial players in the future.