LONDON: The shift of BBC3 to an online-only channel is the first stage of a potential wider restructuring at the BBC and further evidence of the major impact of digital on broadcasters and consumers.

The 13-year-old youth-focused BBC3 television station has now ceased broadcasting but will continue to exist on iPlayer, the BBC's streaming service, with some content also being made available on YouTube. Original content will be repeated at a later date on BBC1 or BBC2.

The BBC Trust said there was "clear public value in moving BBC Three online, as independent evidence shows younger audiences are watching more online and watching less linear TV".

Warc's 2015 Toolkit highlighted the changing media consumption of Millennials and suggested they can be reached more efficiently via online channels.

For this age group, the Toolkit noted, it can be argued that "TV drives engagement, while digital provides reach and frequency".

The Guardian reported that senior executives at the corporation are now considering further radical changes to take account of changing viewing habits and which will also save it money at a time when the licence fee is under pressure.

That could lead to the ending of the existing channel and radio station-based structure – the traditional controller roles for BBC1 and BBC2 have already been scrapped – in favour of a "content-first approach".

Under this set-up, BBC3 could be merged with Radio 1 to create a new youth division.

"Everyone knows we are looking at the BBC's structure to make sure we are fit for the digital age," a spokesman said.

"There has already been a lot of speculation about our future shape and there will no doubt be plenty more, but when we've got something to announce we'll do so."

Data sourced from BBC, Guardian; additional content by Warc staff