BBC threatens to take BBC3 off the air, make it online-only

The BBC’s BBC3 network, known as the birthplace of shows like Torchwood, Little Britain and Being Human, may not be accessible to U.K. residents with an antenna or a cable subscription for much longer. The broadcaster announced Wednesday that it may take the network off the air to save costs. Instead, BBC would become an internet channel that would only be accessible through the BBC’s iPlayer.

Turning to the internet for BBC3 could make sense. The channel is known for having a younger audience that is more likely to stream programming online as well.

bbc iplayer january 2014 numbers

And the BBC’s iPlayer already has a sizeable audience: In January, the BBC clocked 315 million video and audio streams through the platform. Three out of four iPlayer streams are video programming, 25 percent of these video streams get accessed through a smart TV, game console or connected device.

However, it’s not entirely clear that the BBC is going to follow through with its online-only plans for BBC3. Some have speculated that the broadcaster just wanted to cause enough outcry to keep the network financed for the foreseeable future, and a BBC News story helpfully suggested that “celebrities are already rallying behind the service.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user ell brown.