Advanced Television

Ofcom launches BBC Three competition probe

July 20, 2021

By Colin Mann

UK broadcast regulator Ofcom is launching a full competition assessment into the BBC’s proposal to launch BBC Three as a television channel.

Its job, as required by the Charter and Agreement, is to ensure that any change the BBC wishes to make to its publicly-funded TV, radio and online services does not give it an unfair advantage over rival broadcasters.

In June 2021, Ofcom sought views from interested or affected parties to inform its initial assessment of the BBC’s proposal to launch BBC Three as a television channel.  In February 2016, the service became the first TV channel in the world to make the switch from linear broadcast channel to online-first destination.

Ofcom’s initial assessment of the proposed BBC Three television channel has concluded that its relaunch would constitute a material change to the BBC’s UK public service activities. Given the change also raises a number of potential competition issues, impacting several parties, Ofcom considers a full BBC Competition Assessment (BCA) is necessary to allow further scrutiny of its plans.

Ofcom must complete its competition assessment within six months. During this period, it will conduct a detailed analysis of the BBC’s proposal and consult on a provisional decision as to whether the BBC may proceed with the relaunch.

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