BBC Three Online Channel Gets Extra £10 Million, Expands Lineup as Pubcaster Chases Young Viewers

Stewart Clarke

Days after BBC Director General Tony Hall spoke about the importance of wooing younger viewers, the British pubcaster said Wednesday that it will invest an additional £10 million ($14 million) in programming for its youth-skewed online channel BBC Three. The extra investment takes the channel’s programming budget to £40 million.

BBC Three moved online from a linear channel in 2016 amid much furor, but went on to establish itself with shows including “Fleabag” and “Murder in Successville.” It said Wednesday that it now wants new takes on factual entertainment, formats, and entertainment shows. The move effectively adds a third strand to BBC Three’s programming lineup, which was built around comedy and factual fare.

“We have received extra investment in recognition of the great work we have been doing since moving online, and we have ambitious plans for the next stage of our journey,” said Damian Kavanagh, BBC Three controller.

BBC Three announced it had acquired “Killing Eve” on Wednesday, and also announced several new commissions. “Voices in My Head” and “Different Like Me” will look at mental illness and anxiety-induced conditions among young people. A new fact-ent show, “Eating With My Ex,” becomes a full-fledged series after having been a shortform offering on the channel. There will be two new “Stacey Dooley Investigates” documentaries, one exploring punishment attacks in Northern Ireland and the other about people preparing for the end of the world.

The new investment in BBC Three follows a speech Hall gave to staff Monday in which he said a key part of the pubcaster’s strategy is to reach out to younger audiences and to support young program-makers and talent.

“We are reinventing the BBC for a new generation, and BBC Three’s role in that is more important than ever,” said Charlotte Moore, BBC director of content. “I’m really proud of what Damian and the team have achieved over the last two years, and this extra investment is a clear signal of our commitment to entertaining young audiences into the future.”

Related stories

BBC Nabs Phoebe Waller-Bridge Spy Series 'Killing Eve' With Sandra Oh

Acorn TV Takes 'No Offence' in FremantleMedia Drama Deal

U.S. 'West Coast Giants' Threaten British and Local Content, BBC Boss Warns

Subscribe to Variety Newsletters and Email Alerts!