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BBC to sink $450 mil into digital TV, radio

Money to go for youth-oriented BBC3, intellectual BBC4

LONDON — The BBC said it intends to invest more than £300 million ($450 million) over two years in its planned portfolio of new digital TV and radio channels.

Pubcaster submitted detailed proposals for government approval last week after research indicated a high level of public support for the new services.

A total of $228 million would be spent on youth-oriented TV web BBC3 in the first two years, with a further $85 million earmarked for BBC4, whose content director general Greg Dyke envisaged as “unashamedly intellectual.”

Proposed spending of $61 million on two new kids channels would double the Beeb’s current investment in children’s programming.

The BBC’s commercial competitors, including Channel 4 and kidvid webs Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, are against using license-fee money to fund services that will compete in the already crowded multichannel market.

Before making its ruling, the government will put the proposals through a final period of public consultation, expected to end Feb. 28.

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