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Ofcom gives final nod to BBC Scotland channel

Broadcaster's £4m investment in a new technology hub will see 140 jobs created over the next three years

BBC Scotland is investing £4m in a new technology hub and dedicated TV channel which will see 140 jobs created over the next three years.

According to the broadcaster, the hub would play a critical role in “delivering the BBC’s ambition to reinvent itself for a new generation”.

The new roles will focus on three areas: how the BBC develops services on new voice interactive devices and smart speakers, helping deliver the “BBC’s education mission” and “building on the success of BBC Bitesize”, and developing a “common digital platform for the BBC to run its apps, websites and online experiences”.

Ofcom has given final approval to the BBC’s plans for the channel, which will have an annual budget of £32m and will start broadcasting in February 2019. The regulator gave provisional approval back in April.

As well as a news offering at nine each weekday night, the channel will broadcast new programmes that reflect Scottish life, including new comedy and drama.

It is also proposed that the new channel will take the place currently occupied by BBC Four on EPGs in Scotland, with BBC Four moving down the listings.

Ofcom commented: “We recognise that there are uncertainties about the take-up of the new channel and the content it will include.

“However, we are satisfied the BBC has shown its proposal will deliver public value by broadening the options available to viewers in Scotland, providing a greater Scottish-focus in its news coverage and delivering more content designed to reflect the lives of people in Scotland.

“Any adverse impacts on fair and effective competition resulting from the proposals as set out in the BBC’s submission to Ofcom are likely to be fairly limited.”