BBC Three's online move 'opens possibilities for other channels'


The BBC plans to bring elements of BBC Three's move to an online-only service to other channels, executive James Purnell said.

Skills developed in social media content would be transferred to other areas in a bid to make the broadcaster's material more accessible to a wider audience, the corporation's director of strategy, radio and education told an audience in London on Wednesday.

Leading a lecture on the "future of broadcasting" at the Speaker's House in the Palace of Westminster, Mr Purnell said: "BBC Three's transformation was painful but we have learnt about using skills, such as self-filming, that can be transferred across channels and social media platforms - not just taking stuff from the television and putting it online."

The plan will run alongside the BBC'S development of an Ideas Service, aimed at incorporating and sharing viewers' reaction to programmes.

For children's channels such as CBeebies, this would include adopting a "Blue Peter tradition" of encouraging young viewers to share their creative responses to shows, such as things they have made, with the channel.

Mr Purnell, who took on the job last year, warned that the BBC is in a "precarious position" and said that it needed fresher ideas to make content more engaging on smartphone and tablet apps.

Describing BBC programming as a cornerstone to British culture, he said that the latest Government White Paper gave the broadcaster stability, but added that more support was needed.

While he applauded successful British series such as The Crown, he said such shows risked being overshadowed by US creators with higher budgets.

"If cuts continue then our culture is in jeopardy," he said. "Spending on British programming has fallen by a quarter and more for music and newspapers.

"While streaming services mark a golden age for consumers, Netflix's revenue has tripled in the last five years and its annual content budget is more than the BBC's entire income.

"If we don't act our culture could soon be mostly baked on the other side of the Atlantic."