Entertainment & Arts

'Merger plan' for BBC Three and Radio 1

BBC Three logo and Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw

BBC Three and BBC Radio 1 could be merged under the same division in future, according to reports.

The TV channel is moving online-only on 16 February and consideration is now being given to moving it within a new "youth division", Radio Times says.

A single controller may oversee all BBC platforms aimed at 16-34 year olds, including the popular radio station.

The BBC said it was looking at its "structure... for the digital age" but no changes had been confirmed.

BBC Three was launched as a digital TV channel in 2003. In November last year, the BBC Trust approved proposals to move it online as part of cost-cutting moves at the corporation.

'Powerful brand'

BBC sources quoted by Radio Times said the plans are at the ideas stage but are being "seriously considered" by strategists.

But they are only likely to be implemented if the online BBC Three fails to get "sufficient traction", they said.

Radio 1 includes video content on its website and some of its programming is available on the BBC's iPlayer TV catch-up service.

Radio Times says the thinking of some senior figures is that bringing it together with BBC Three under a single controller would make "perfect sense".

The magazine quotes BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh as saying he is unaware of such a plan but "there are a lot of conversations going on".

Mr Kavanagh said BBC Three and Radio 1 were "talking to the same audiences on different things" and already collaborate.

But he added BBC Three is "a really powerful youth brand with 13 years heritage and I wouldn't see the logic in winding down something that has that audience, and has that badge of quality, and has that heritage".

A BBC spokesman said: "Everyone knows we are looking at the BBC's structure to make sure we are fit for the digital age.

"There has already been a lot of speculation about our future shape and there will no doubt be plenty more, but when we've got something to announce we'll do so."

Content on the online-only BBC Three includes the Daily Drop, a website index featuring short videos, blogs, social media, picture galleries, and news and sport updates. But about two hours of the channel's long-form programmes will be shown on BBC One and Two every week.

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