Big news for us today. pic.twitter.com/eQ1xfgkP1T
— BBC Three (@bbcthree) September 16, 2021
The channel has had a good run recently with Fleabag and Normal People and in noting Ofcom’s provision approval, the regulator said:
“We have analysed this proposal in detail and have provisionally concluded that the public value of BBC Three’s return as a broadcast channel justifies the limited adverse market impact that might arise from it.
We have also provisionally found that the relaunch of BBC Three as a broadcast channel would increase its availability and reach to people who don’t currently have access to it. These include people from lower income households and those living outside of London and the south east.”
As a result of this provisional ruling, Ofcom is also now consulting on the rules that govern BBC Three’s place on the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).
The role of protecting Public Service Broadcasters’ prominence on the EPG is a much bigger issue than many realised. Getting those rules in place was a major victory for defenders of PSB and it’s one that needs to be promoted and protected. The principle is outlined in Ofcom’s guidance on EPGs, here [pdf].
When we see a government that is viscerally hostile to PSBs, there are so many subtle lines of attack that they can make – for instance, challenging the BBC. ITV and C4’s prominence on the EPG – and it outlines how vulnerable these institutions are.