I watched BBC Three a handful of times when it was broadcast to telly-boxes between 2003 and 2016, mainly Family Guy when I was studying late and needed a break at stupid o’clock, but according to the BBC’s commissioning article I’m perfectly within it’s “disciplined focus” of 16-34 year olds, so why didn’t I watch it?
It’s not that I dislike BBC Three programming and I didn’t actively avoid it. It just never aired the right thing at the right time to fit in with my life – between 7pm and 4am I’m generally sleeping / eating / washing up (or other misc. housework) or a combination of the above (washing up while you eat in your sleep can save a lot of time).
#byebyebbcthree / #haibbc3
When the BBC announced it was considering making BBC Three an online only channel there was much opposition, I wasn’t bothered either way to be honest, but the decision was made to decommission the transmission and move the content online – in a relatively short period1 for such a big organization! I’d estimate I’ve watched an equal number of hours of BBC Three programming in the last month and a half as I did for the 13 years it was broadcasting2.
Streaming TV along with the decreasing price of handheld screens will, in my opinion, make BBC Three be the first successful channel to make the switch. BBC Three’s target audience use tablets and smartphones all day, every day – even when watching ‘traditional’ TV, they’re using second screens – and as this target audience ages, the way content is delivered to them must evolve to keep up with their habits.
the rise of online tv
In the last year or so, I believe we’ve seen the biggest change in habits. Many more people are choosing Netflix and/ or Amazon Prime subscriptions over getting a traditional aerial set up and TV License.
As YouTube has matured and as more content creators use the platform, the quality of offerings has gone up. There are still cat videos, yes, but there is also a lot of thoughtful/ educational/ entertaining content too. Looking at their stats page there’s some interesting points regarding audience…
YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
The number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% y/y since March 2014.
But also regarding revenue
As of October 2014, YouTube has paid out $1 billion to rightsholders who have chosen to monetize claims since Content ID first launched in 2007.
These are impressive claims and numbers and it cements in my mind that the traditional TV format, ads and all, are not too long for this world… But more on that next time. Either way the BBC is on to a good thing, and if they announce they’re moving more channels online only (BBC Four?) I won’t be complaining.
If you’ve disconnected your aerial and gone 100% online, we’d love to talk to you, so get in touch below!
1 November 2015 it was announced, February 2016 the transition was complete.
2 Interestingly the big ‘look at what BBC Three has to offer’ programme is called Thirteen. Coincidence?
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