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Image credit: BBC/Bwark/Ed Miller

BBC Three's online relaunch starts with new shows and sites

A whole new identity for the youth-centric channel.

Nick Summers , @nisummers
01.26.16 in AV
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Image Credit: BBC/Bwark/Ed Miller

BBC Three is undergoing its wildest metamorphosis to date as it prepares to close its TV channel and move its operations entirely online. That means plenty of new shows and a new means of distribution that goes beyond iPlayer. Over the next few days a site will be introduced called The Daily Drop featuring a mixture of short-form videos, blog posts, news stories and social media. It'll be joined in February by another platform called The Best Of, which is designed to showcase the team's top programming. That includes original longform content, such as documentaries, as well as shorter, more creative videos inspired by YouTube and the like.

With these come a range of fresh commissions designed to show off the BBC's new vision. They include Clique, a six-part drama about two childhood soulmates, Georgia and Holly, who attend Edinburgh University and quickly get caught up in a "seductive world" led by the city's high-flying business types. There's also a mystery series called Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared, which follows reporters Alys Harte and Bronagh Munro as they follow an investigation into a teenager's real-life disappearance. If you think that sounds like Serial, you're not alone.

Other highlights include Black Power, a new documentary by filmmaker Dan Murdoch about the Black Liberation Movement, and a second series of Life And Death Row, which looks at young people behind bars.

When the decision was made to move BBC Three online, people weren't happy. An ultimately unsuccessful online petition was set up, championing its programming and the role it plays on television. The broadcaster carried on regardless though, and with good reason -- it faces tough budget cuts and is trying to keep up with youngsters' consumption habits, which are increasingly moving online. With this new approach, the BBC believes it can be more adventurous than before, trying new formats that wouldn't have been possible through a regular TV schedule.

The relaunch marks a rare chance for BBC Three to reinvent itself. A successful slate of programming could re-establish its place among youth media, while a series of misfires will all but bury the brand forever.

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