The closure of BBC3 as a TV channel is far from certain according to Richard Ayre, one of the corporation’s trustees, who has stressed that the plans will be heavily scrutinised when they are submitted this summer.
Ayre, speaking following the publication of a BBC Trust report examining the corporation’s news and current affairs output, expressed scepticism that plans to move BBC3 online would prove effective.
Ayre said that it was in no way a “foregone conclusion” that the closing the TV channel was the best move in the BBC’s strategic mission to engage with younger audiences.
“It will have to be a detailed proposal, I have some searching questions,” he said. “Not least will be given the difficulty of reaching young adults with journalism how does the BBC propose to ensure – through [putting BBC3] online or that and other online initiatives – the BBC is going to continue to reach those individuals as it does with BBC3 [on TV]. I don’t think you should regard it as a foregone conclusion. It is not a foregone conclusion”.
Ayre said that the BBC Trust expects to receive a detailed proposal from director general Tony Hall – which will include launching BBC1+1 in place of BBC3, shifting some drama to BBC1 and boosting CBBC by an hour a night – “just before or just after the summer break”.