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(Pocket-lint) - The BBC has revealed that the closure and integration of BBC Three as an online only channel through iPlayer was inevitable. However, it was only the corporation's financial restrictions that have forced its arm to act now.

"We wouldn't have done this so soon if it wasn't for the financial challenges we're facing. We would have done it in five or so years time," revealed Danny Cohen, director of BBC Television during the launch of a new version of the iPlayer platform.

It's something that has been prompted by the rise in use of iPlayer by the younger target audience of BBC Three. They are more likely to switch to an online platform than the viewers of BBC Four, for example.

"25 per cent are already coming through connected TVs, so young people are already watching it through their television sets, just in a different way," added Cohen.

Even with the shift, which is planned for Autumn 2015 subject to BBC Trust approval, the BBC Three branding will remain. We were told by Ralph Rivera, BBC's director of future media that brand identities are important to the organisation.

"BBC Three will live on as one of the core brands, one of the core channels for iPlayer," he said.

Writing by Rik Henderson.