BBC Three is set to return as a TV channel after the top regulator gave plans the green light.
The channel was axed back in 2016, with the BBC moving it online after deciding that younger viewers no longer watched traditional forms of media and television.
However, with the channel enjoying incredible successes over the past few years, including the likes of Fleabag and Killing Eve, the argument has been strongly made that there is, in fact, a place for it on our TV screens.
And in the wake of the pandemic, which saw BBC Three's adaptation of Normal People become the most-watched and most talked-about series in the country, the corporation has made moves to bring the channel back.
Ofcom has now thrown its support behind the proposals.
In a ruling shared yesterday (16 September), the regulator wrote: "Our job 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.
"Having conducted a detailed analysis of the BBC's proposal, we have provisionally concluded that the public value of BBC Three returning as a broadcast channel justifies the limited adverse market impact."
According to the BBC's proposals for the channel, it's hoped that it will launch in January 2022, with its programming aimed at 13-15-year-olds and 16-34-year-olds.
Two-thirds of its budget will also be spent on programming outside of London.
Ofcom determined that bringing BBC Three back in its original form would benefit those from different socio-economic backgrounds.
It said: "We have provisionally found that the channel would increase the availability and reach of BBC Three to people who currently don't access it.
"Particularly viewers from lower-income households and those living outside London and the south-east."
Sky had previously complained about the channel's proposed return, claiming that because it would be a public service channel it would appear in the first 24 channels on TV guides.
This would in turn bump other channels further down the list, affecting visibility.
In its ruling, Ofcom also confirmed that while the decision will now go through a period of consultation, BBC Three would indeed be given a prominent spot in listings.
Speaking about the decision, a spokesperson for the BBC said: "It is a fantastic vote of confidence in our drive to deliver more value and grow our offer for younger audiences across the UK.
"We've committed to increasing our investment in the channel's programmes, which will allow us to deliver even more of our award-winning content and expand our creative partnerships across the UK nations and regions."
The public consultation is open from now until 14 October.
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