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United Kingdom Businesses Government It's funny.  Laugh. Television The Almighty Buck The Media Entertainment

End of an Era As Pioneering BBC3 Becomes an Online-Only Station (betanews.com) 85

Mark Wilson writes: 13 years ago, BBC3 launched in the UK. Last night, the TV station broadcast over the airwaves for the last time. In a bid to slash expenditure, the youth-oriented channel that launched countless comedy careers is now only available online. The likes of Being Human, The Mighty Boosh, Gavin and Stacey, and the like will live on, but only on the web — which the BBC is spinning as an opportunity to be freed from the constraints of regular scheduling. The change has been known about for some time now, and there have been a number of campaigns and petitions to try to get the BBC to change its mind.
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End of an Era As Pioneering BBC3 Becomes an Online-Only Station

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  • Too bad (Score:5, Funny)

    by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @12:31PM (#51519969)

    It is so sad that they have moved down to a medium which nobody knows or cares about.

    I mean, this makes the television antennas in all of our phones practically useless now....

    • The kids of today will never figure out how to find the BBC3 on this Interwebs thing.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I found my old dial-up server list, but none of them are named "Bulletin Board C3", is this one of the ones where I need to find a different area code's server list?

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      They won't sell us phones with ATSC tuners here in the US.

      • Ain't no one stopping you: www.aliexpress.com
        • Side note, apropos of nothing: Alibaba will sell to people in much of the U.S., but not to those of us who live in Washington state!

        • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

          From what I can find there is no cellphone with support for ATSC. I see that I can get an ATSC adapter that will allow me to watch tv but that's hardly the same.

      • You can buy a tuner that plugs into the bottom, with an expandable antenna if you want that model.
    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

      I mean, this makes the television antennas in all of our phones practically useless now....

      What's a TV antenna doing in your phone? Wouldn't it be useless without also having a tuner of some sort in there?

      • ahhhh, *that's* why it never worked... Here I was adding tinfoil to the telescoping antenna and everything...

  • "If you like your BBC3, you can keep you ur BBC3.,
    • As it is in so many other contexts, Fox is even worse!

      • The simpsons? X-files? 24? A lot of shows that saturate popular culture came from Fox. Nevermind that the BBC actually recycles a lot of US content, which in many cases ends up being more popular than the domestic content.

        • The simpsons? X-files? 24?

          Fox news! You're talking about fictional entertainment, right?

        • Think more along the lines of "if you like your Firefly, you can keep your Firefly."

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Nevermind that the BBC actually recycles a lot of US content, which in many cases ends up being more popular than the domestic content.

          Example please? The Beeb aren't renowned for licensing shows. Quite the reverse in fact; what's far more common is that BBC shows are exported to the US, where they are remade for American tastes and so end up being absolutely awful (e.g. Red Dwarf, The Office).

          • I think the comment means that the BBC buys in some overseas programming, rather than "recycles". Personally I like to see some foreign TV, the Walter Presents collection is quite interesting.
  • by Afty0r ( 263037 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @12:39PM (#51520035) Homepage
    I really hope Netflix doesn't copy this model - it could be fatal for their business!
    • I've tried every position on the dial, from 2 to 13 - but I can't find this "Netflix" anywhere!

      Wait... is it in the UHF band?

  • >> 13 years ago, BBC3 launched...that launched countless comedy careers...

    In the words of John Oliver, settle down people. It's only been around 13 years. Surely, the number of people who are still working in comedy after working on that channel is finite. Here's a list of the most famous, I guess: http://www.theguardian.com/med... [theguardian.com]

  • ... and even I hardly watch any "over the air" television anymore. Most of the shows I watch are available on Hulu or Netflix (including at least a few of these particular BBC3 shows, which aren't otherwise available to me as a non-Brit). Surely a "youth-oriented" channel can somehow manage to survive the move to an Internet-only presence.

    I'm sure the BBC's primary motivation here is indeed to save money - but I don't see how this move has to be construed as a negative one.

    • If BBC wants some money, they should open up iPlayer as a subscription service to the US. Obviously, any show they manage to license to a cable network would not be included in the subscription, but everything else is just sitting there untapped. I am not going to buy cable just to get BBC America.

  • Everything is ultimately headed over IP. BBC3 is a good brand with which to pioneer this with it's relatively young and tech-savy demographic. Once "smart" TVs start living up to their name you'll be able to watch it just as you do now over DVB.

  • The BBC claim that this will save £30M /year, by moving on-line. This does not add up.

    Transponders and multiplex slots don't cost a fortune to rent. You only have to look at all the garbage channels to know that it's cheap. In any case, it shares a transponder with a kids channel, so should only pay half. The programme costs will be the same whatever the distribution method. Furthermore there is a cost to streaming to the internet, which I wouldn't mind betting is similar to the transponder costs.

    I p

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      The whole country since the recession has been in cost cutting mode, and the 60+ generation is basically that which has been protected from everything in every way both in government and elsewhere.

      BBC3 has been cut because the BBC has decided to cater almost in it's entirety to the 60+ demographic, and this is highlighted by the fact that the average age of a BBC viewer has crept up from just under 50 to 59 since the recession started and cuts began.

      But it's become a self-fulfilling prophecy for them, they'

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @01:03PM (#51520263)

    The channel was meant to cover "young people" as the BBC, in its wisdom had decided that they weren't watching enough TV (as if that was a bad thing). However, the BBC's idea of "young people" was a rather arbitrary age range of 16 - 34 year olds. That is a group defined by the advertising industry, but since the BBC is advert free, it's not really relevant to them and can hardly be said to be a "demographic".

    Given that most 16 year olds are spotty children, living with their parents who still snigger when someone says "fart" and 34 year-olds are generally on their second baby, with a partner, mortgage, job and a car or two - it's a pretty wide range to please, So it's no surprise that the target audience (who weren't watching enough TV) stayed away. Sure, in the eyes of those people who made a living from BBC3, it was "pioneering" or "innovative". However those people were generally, themselves, not exactly target-audience material, either.

    When the TV "digital revolution" (i.e. replacing the small number of wide-band analog stations with a large number of digital ones) started, there was a plethora of new stations. Most of them had very little content that was either new or worth watching. Most of these, especially the new ones that the BBC started, can be considered failures. BBC3 is just the most high-profile failure and probably won't be missed, except by those middle-aged 34 year-olds who still wish they were spotty children - or who are still living with their parents.

    • by dhaen ( 892570 )
      A concern of mine is that this is just the thin end of the wedge. BBC4 will be next (not online but closed). They'll push the more popular programmes back to BBC2 (where that came from originally) and ditch the rest. I know it runs a lot of repeats but it it is our only channel with any cultural value IMO.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The BBC has plenty of good content for its channels, it just won't show it. BBC 4 is full of modern crap, when they could be showing great documentaries from the 60s, 70s and 80s. From the time before the great dumbing down.

  • Given the number of repeats shown on BBC1 and BBC2 there was always plenty of space in the schedule for new, innovative and interesting material.

    There still is.

    Forget putting BBC3 online, shut it down entirely. Anything that's good enough can be shown on BBC2 - it's got to be better than endless repeats of Coast, daily doses of Flog It and whatever the fuck they call that atrocity that's on at 7pm.

  • Since I didn't know it even existed, nothing of value was lost. :)
  • Its not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @04:47PM (#51522371)

    The BBC licence fee has been frozen (Govt interference!) for a number of years now due to intense lobbying by the likes of Sky and the newspapers. Its not just the Conservatives, Labour under Tony Blair were happy to be in the Murdochs pocket too.

    In real terms this means that the amount of money they get is not enough to cover running the channels they had 13 years ago, is not enough to make/commission more than a few new programme ideas and is not enough to compete with Sky for high profile sports programming. Added to this, the BBC has been saddled with funding a government benefit, the provision of "free" tv licences for the over 75s, and with the number of 75 year olds growing, that means a continuous drop in licence fee income.

    The BBC used to produce ALL their own programmes. Under successive licence fee settlements, they have been required to commission from outside production companies. The number of BBC production studios has shrunk dramatically. Ther BBC only has the right to rebroadcast shows or obtain extra income from overseas sales when they make the programmes themselves. Otherwise future income goes into the pockets of the production companies or other rightsholders.

    Other income streams like BBC Publishing have also been stolen and sold off in the name of the great god "competition" and the BBC is in danger of losing much of their web content because of johnny-come-lately newspapers who have seen their own print readership evaporate and want to appropriate the online digital content pioneered by the BBC.

    BBC 3 wasn't a failure. Over its lifetime it aired ground-breaking comedies and dramas. Having it shunted into the on-line abyss is yet another nail in the coffin of strong, independent programming from the BBC.

  • It's just gone 8 o'clock and time for the penguin on top of your television set to explode.

  • So when will I be able to stream "My Word" and "My Music", auntie Beeb?

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