Commercial Broadcasters to Lobby Government Over BBC3

11 February 2002

Leading members of Britain’s commercial TV sector are today due to start a final round of lobbying, urging ministers to block plans from the publicly funded British Broadcasting Corporation for a digital channel aimed at the nation’s youth.

Terrestrial broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and satellite giant BSkyB will inform culture secretary Tessa Jowell that the youth market is already adequately served without the proposed BBC3.

Jowell rejected the Beeb’s plans in September, saying they were not distinctive enough from commercial offerings. The proposals, modified to include more news and current affairs, have been resubmitted, but commercial networks claim that 85% of the channel’s output would still be entertainment.

Should Jowell give the green light to BBC3, rival broadcasters insist that a portion of its £90 million-plus budget be shifted to BBC4, a channel devoted to the arts, science, history and current affairs (whose own budget stands at a comparatively paltry £35m).

Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff