Minister Grants Green Light to BBC Youth Channel

18 September 2002

Tessa Jowell, Britain’s secretary of state for culture, media and sport, has at last given the British Broadcasting Corporation permission to launch its youth-oriented digital station BBC3, but has attached what she calls “the toughest set of conditions ever issued … to a TV channel.”

Just over a year ago, Jowell rejected plans for BBC3, delighting rival broadcasters and shocking executives at the publicly funded corporation. The minister argued that the channel was too similar to commercial rivals [WAMN: 14-Sep-01].

The BBC’s revised proposals have now been accepted on condition that the channel delivers a “mixed schedule of programmes, embracing drama, entertainment, news, current affairs, education, music, the arts, science and including coverage of international issues.”

Such wholesome fare must be given a fixed amount of airtime. In addition, 80% of the channel’s programming must be specially commissioned.

“I am determined BBC3 should be a distinctive public service channel that is not competing with what is already out there in a vigorous marketplace,” declared Jowell. “The channel will be reviewed after two years to ensure this is the case.”

BBC3 will replace existing digital channel BBC Choice and will be allocated a budget in the region of £100 million ($153m; €159m).

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff