BBC Three – heading online-only for the youth market

I’m going to use that word tonight, aren’t I. That catch-all phrase for marketers who want to spend money making videos and podcasts and live streams to promote their product.


Eww. But since the government’s been content to slowly murder the BBC – death by a thousand cuts – they need to start up generating the other form of that word in order to get some bang for their buck.

So once BBC Three goes online-only (two weeks tomorrow if I’m not mistaken), the producers, programmers and bosses are confident that they’ll catch more of their market. Why’s that?

BBC Three logo online

BBC News reported on a study by Childwise, which has found that for the first time ever, five to sixteen-year olds are spending more time online than they are watching standard TV. And even then, Netflix is the most watched channel.

Less than a quarter of 15 and 16-year olds will watch TV as it’s broadcast, and nearly a third did not name a favourite TV programme.

All of a sudden I can’t tell if the BBC Three move online is a good or a bad thing.

I do know that the BBC’s been producing video content – shudder – and posting it online for a good long while now in an attempt to hook the yoof into watching their stuff on proper TV.

We all know where the youth dollar goes now – vloggers. I hate that word even more than ‘content’.

And, tellingly, the BBC has been painfully slow in getting to cover this topic for de yoofs market. Only tonight are we promised a programme about ‘superstar vloggers’, which for some completely unknown reason is being hosted by one of the very same superstars.

Bit much, really. Without caring to watch it – because fuck that, Impractical Jokers is on – I don’t see how you can expect to make a neutral, one-step-removed look at the whole thing by asking one of them to present it. It’d be like getting Robbie Savage to present a show about irritating ex-footballers.

There’s more programmes to come in this ‘online’ season of youth-oriented documentaries. I will be watching tomorrow’s – about eSports, for research – but I may join those youngsters with their hip hop and their happy slaps and watch it online at a later date instead.

I suppose we’ll yet find out how the new focus on the future will affect BBC Three viewers after it disappears from our telly boxes and exists solely online. I wonder if they’re expecting more hits than Zoella. Or if they even know who she is.

(Why do I know who she is? I work in content marketing, innit blud.)