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Ofcom gives provisional go-ahead to BBC Three relaunch

Ofcom gives provisional go-ahead to BBC Three relaunch
© BBC
Ofcom gives a tentative green light for BBC Three to relaunch as a linear TV channel in January.

TV regulator Ofcom has given the provisional green light to the BBC to relaunch BBC Three as a linear television channel next year.

The youth-skewing service moved to an online-only proposition in 2016 but huge success with shows such as Normal People and RuPaul's Drag Race UK over the last 18 months led to the BBC deciding to restore it to broadcast TV.

The proposal needs to get full Ofcom approval before the BBC can go ahead, however, and in a statement today the regulator confirmed that it is minded to approve the relaunch, pending further feedback from rival broadcasters and other interested parties.

"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," 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 of London and the South-East."

Ofcom has also signified that it will require platforms to carry BBC Three within the first 24 slots of their EPGs; provisionally, this would mean the channel relaunching on Sky 115/124, Virgin 108/124, Freeview 24 and Freesat 110.

A final decision is likely to come in November.

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