BBC unveils changes to digital channel strategy

The BBC has confirmed it is developing two new digital channels, BBC3 and BBC4, to replace the exisiting BBC Choice and BBC Knowledge. The TV giant has yet to make any formal announcement on the plans.

BBC3 is reported to be targeted at younger viewers and could launch as early as next spring, while BBC4 aims to become a highbrow arts channel covering similar subject matter to Radio 4, and is understood to be scheduled for a summer 2001 launch.

A BBC spokesman says it is too early to start thinking about design work, as the channels are only in the planning stages. “The BBC is reviewing its digital channel output but has no firm proposals yet,” he says. “Our initial thoughts are that the existing BBC Choice channel could be replaced by BBC3, with BBC4 replacing BBC Knowledge, but it is too soon to make any formal announcement.”

BBC Director-General Greg Dyke is expected to make a keynote speech about the plans at the Edinburgh Television Festival McTaggart Lecture later this month, according to the spokesman.

Lambie-Nairn, the incumbent BBC branding consultancy, is a prime contender for the rebranding work. The consultancy recently relaunched BBC World, the 24-hour international news and information channel. It declines to comment about its involvement in the new project.

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