The BBC has approved a plan to transform the BBC 3 linear channel into an online-only service.

Talk of shuttering BBC 3 as a linear service has been in the the air for some time. The BBC Trust on Tuesday released its provisional conclusions on a series of proposals from the Beeb’s executive branch.

Regarding the BBC 3, which leans toward youth-oriented comedy and unscripted programs, the Trust concluded that shifting to online would result in cost savings of about $47 million a year, and would allow for more “distinctive” programming. BBC 3’s declining audience prompted the review of the channel that bowed in February 2003.

The fact that BBC 3 targets a younger demographic also makes it a natural candidate for a digital makeover.

“Those aged 16 to 34 are already far more likely than any other group to use online video services and the BBC is right to anticipate the need to serve this audience in new ways,” the Trust said.