Turns out they’re basically saving £50m and then re-investing £50m in content for BBC3 on iPlayer and (politically friendly) drama on BBC1, a channel who already has a £1bn budget…
I also think my strategy claims were pretty accurate to, here’s Head of TV Danny Cohen quoted by Media Guardian:
“In an ideal world we would not be taking BBC3 online in 18 months time, we would probably do it in three or four years time.
“But taking on the World Service cost £245m to licence fee payers, we took that in from the government in the last licence fee settlement along with another set of commitments totalling £300m. It means we can’t keep offering the same with less money.
“For BBC4, that means if future funding for the BBC comes under more threat then the likelihood is we would have to take more services along the same [online only] route [as BBC3].”
Cohen added: “By making the move we made today we know we can manage our funding through the licence fee period which ends in 2016/17. We will have to see what happens in the future with the licence fee whether we can keep BBC4 [as a TV channel].“
In other words, BBC3’s been sacrificed to tell the Government to keep their tanks of the BBC’s lawn, otherwise their favourite channel – BBC 4 – gets the bullet.