For sentimentality's sake, we hope you indulged in your pre-bed ritual of catching a cheeky episode of American Dad! on BBC Three last night -- because as of the early hours of this morning, it ceased to exist as a broadcast channel. For the next few weeks, it'll be repurposed to promote BBC Three's new online-only identity before disappearing from your TV's EPG... forever. The switch has been a long time coming, of course, with the BBC setting the ball rolling almost two years ago as part of continued cost-cutting measures. Despite some opposition from the public, the BBC Trust formally approved the broadcaster's plan for an online-only BBC Three late last year, and that transition has concluded today.
The BBC Trust's green light wasn't without fine print, with various conditions set "to ensure younger audiences continue to be well served." BBC Three became known for its experimental and often hilarious commissions, and the BBC has been keen to comfort loyal viewers with the promise its doctrine won't die alongside the linear TV channel. As part of BBC Three's rebirth, it'll further embrace new media, with its YouTube channel and social network activity becoming more important outlets for content.
In addition to BBC Three's iPlayer presence, a new online portal called The Daily Drop is already live, highlighting content on social media channels and blending in blog posts, news and short-form videos. Joining that site later today is another platform, "The Best Of," which will primarily feature long-form content like documentaries, dramas and comedies, such as the new series of Cuckoo that premieres online this evening.
Plenty of new commissions have been announced across all these genres already, and while BBC Three Controller Damian Kavanagh admits "we won't get everything right immediately," he's confident "being online means we can now adapt and iterate quickly."
"We aren't constrained by duration or form anymore so the shackles are off when it comes to creativity."