This year marks 100 years of the BBC, and the broadcaster is planning on celebrating with specials of its top TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who. But with this milestone anniversary comes a major shake-up to how the channels will operate, and even which ones will continue to exist.
In 2022 the BBC has already brought its BBC Three channel back to TV screens and there have been discussions about whether its license fee will change to a Netflix-style subscription service. But it has now confirmed the CBBC and BBC Four TV channels will be shutting down and becoming online-only, as part of plans to close television and radio channels in order to focus on streaming services.
Director General Tim Davie made the announcement this week, explaining the decision came from the fact that younger audiences use streaming channels like Netflix and Disney Plus more.
Speaking to BBC staff on Thursday, he said: ‘This is our moment to build a digital-first BBC. Something genuinely new, a Reithian organisation for the digital age, a positive force for the UK and the world. Independent, impartial, constantly innovating and serving all. A fresh, new, global digital media organisation which has never been seen before.
‘Driven by the desire to make life and society better for our licence fee payers and customers in every corner of the UK and beyond. They want us to keep the BBC relevant and fight for something that in 2022 is more important than ever. To do that we need to evolve faster and embrace the huge shifts in the market around us.’
However, the changes won’t come into effect for at least another three years, with the transition only coming into play in 2025.
Closing down these channels in their current form means that much-loved BBC shows like Blue Peter and Newsround will only be available online, for the first time ever. The BBC World News and BBC News channels will also merge to create one 24-hour TV channel, for both UK and international audiences.
This digital-first move also means around 1,000 jobs will be lost across the BBC, as part of an estimated £500,000,000 cut.