This petition is calling on the BBC Director General and the BBC Trust to reconsider plans to axe BBC Three from our television screens in January, and the 50pc budget cuts to programming for the BBC3 audience which will hit popular shows.
My name is Jono, and I am passionate about the BBC. Like thousands of others, I am a big fan of the hit shows that BBC Three has produced and I have grown up watching them for the last 11 years. After hearing the Director General Lord Hall was proposing closing BBC Three on TV I set up this petition. Scrapping the TV channel, halving the budget for an online service, and respending it on older audiences would be a big mistake. The BBC needs to cater for all ages, and with the average age of BBC1, 2, and 4 at 60 these proposals will only make the corporation older, whiter, and more middle class as audiences flock elsewhere.
BBC Three has produced exciting, original television programming for 16-34 year olds since 2002. It has been a launchpad for ground-breaking shows like In The Flesh, Being Human, Torchwood, Russell Howard's Good News, Mighty Boosh, Bad Education, Gavin and Stacey, Murdered By My Boyfriend, and Little Britain. Unlike the other BBC channels this one takes risks. Unlike competitors it hosts live debates and cutting-edge documentaries and hosts wall-to-wall music festival coverage. It has won more awards for programming over a decade than any of its key competitors have in 25 years. With BBC One and Two focused on chasing ratings we believe BBC programming will become less distinctive without Three.
The BBC does not do enough to cater for young adults, and scrapping BBC Three from TV from the start of 2016 would be a big mistake. BBC bosses have already admitted this will drive young people away from the service, and that audiences will shrink rather than grow. Losing such audiences contradicts the BBC’s mission statement to reach more young people.
There is little suggestion that television is not still a powerful medium to broadcast on. Commercial stations like ITV2 and E4 have reported growth in recent months, and the number of hours consumed watching television is expected to increase over the next 3 years. We also have our concerns about the numbers still unable to access superfast broadband or 3G/4G phone signals to stream video on their devices. This will impact the proposed services’ reach and penalise the poor or those living in rural areas. Even the BBC admits it would be better to make this happen over five years.
We are concerned the BBC won’t need to demonstrate the successes of a new online service before closing the TV channel, even though the audience feedback has been hostile. This is most likely because the BBC has suggested the “key reason” for closing BBC Three is to invest in drama for BBC1 – an area and channel already well-funded by the licence fee - rather than reflecting the views of 16-34 year olds. We think the BBC are failing to demonstrate why it needs the money at the cost of the one TV channel for young adults. Factored in with a possible BBC1+1 and the required increase in advertising spend for a new BBC Three there will be very little money saved - if any.
We are calling for the BBC Trust to save the channel and for the organisation to reject the BBC’s plans to allow BBC Three to continue broadcasting as a TV channel for the foreseeable future – broadcasting to an under-served demographic and bringing the most value for the BBC, and ensuring the nation has access to superfast broadband before any further steps are taken. This would show the BBC Trust does listen to its audience and act on its views. Moreover it would prevent the BBC setting a precedent closing TV services which could include BBC Four.
A final decision from the BBC Trust is due in November 2015.
Jono Read started this petition with a single signature, and now has 302,306 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.