BBC Three has been given provisional approval from Ofcom to return to the airwaves.
The channel was taken offline in 2016, and was moved to be a portal for more experimental and youth-oriented content on the BBC iPlayer.
Following the success of lockdown hit series Normal People however, reports began to emerge that the BBC would look to bring the channel back to Freeview and other linear TV platforms.
Now, after the BBC pledged to more than double the channel’s annual budget to over £70 million, regulator Ofcom has given BBC Three the greenlight to make a comeback.
The regulator had been investigating whether BBC Three’s return would negatively impact the youth-oriented Channel 4.
In a statement, it concluded: “Our job is to ensure that any change the BBC wishes to make to its publicly funded TV, radio and online services does not give it an unfair advantage over rival broadcasters. Having conducted a detailed analysis of the BBC’s proposal, we have provisionally concluded that the public value of BBC Three returning as a broadcast channel justifies the limited adverse market impact.
“We have provisionally found that the channel would increase the availability and reach of BBC Three to people who currently don’t access it. Particularly viewers from lower income households and those living outside London and the south-east.”
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “It is a fantastic vote of confidence in our drive to deliver more value and grow our offer for younger audiences across the UK. We’ve committed to increase our investment in the channel’s programmes, which will allow us to deliver even more of our award winning content and expand our creative partnerships across the UK nations and regions.”
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