BBC Three could be online-only by March as second consultation gets underway

Youth network content getting spread to the four winds

We've known since June the BBC had approved plans for the youth-focused BBC Three channel to go online-only next year, and the BBC Trust has now proposed a second public consultation.

The consultation will run until September 30 and will seek the opinion of the public and of stakeholders. The Trust has also asked the BBC Executive to provide more information about the potential impact of the proposal to make the switch.

A spokesperson told us that BBC Management has suggested a date of March 1 for the switchover, but as of yet that is only a proposal and subject to change.

The process is going to be a relatively gradual transition for the channel with more of its popular content shifting to BBC One and Two this Autumn in preparation. Arguably its biggest show, Don't Tell the Bride, already made the move over to BBC One for its ninth season this Summer.

The BBC expects to be showing between one and two hours of BBC Three-birthed content each week on its primary two channels, though is aiming those at the later slots it says are more favoured by the younger target audience.

Transition

In January and February of next year the corporation will be running a temporary BBC Three channel to help inform the audience of its transition towards an online-only proposition.

The BBC is now ramping up its online content for BBC Three, but is aiming the new service to be "more than just an online version of its linear predecessor or a handful of long-form programmes within a BBC Three branded space in BBC iPlayer" making more of its content available right across the whole BBC spectrum, from BBC One and Two, to iPlayer to branded areas of BBC.co.uk.

The BBC has previously stated that this shift in strategy for BBC Three will save the corporation around £30 million, some of which will be ploughed directly into new original dramas for BBC One.

Edit: An earlier version of this article stated that the switchover date would definitely be March 1, 2015. The article has been updated to reflect that this is currently just a proposal from BBC Management.

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