I've always thought the 'Three' brand and slot should be put out to tender to run on TV. Then the winning bidder gets to run a UKTV type channel showing all BBC Three's online content a few weeks after. In addition to this recent archive stuff and brought in programmes from overseas could be shown. It would just mean the BBC could make savings and create extra income whilst ensuring that audience continues to be served through it's own slot on broadcast TV.
It would also would make more sense than having BBC Four in a no mans land on the EPG
116: BBC Four
Sorry but I have to disagree. If a rival wishes to run a 'BBC Three' type channel then they can set one up and acquire the rights to the programmes or commission similar programming. For instance Sky One has already acquired the rights to Don't Tell the Bride, whilst ITV have acquired the rights to Family Guy. I know some companies (Avalon springs to mind) would have like to bought BBC Three's branding, presumably to piggybacked off the BBC's success and show their (notably Avalon's TV) programmes.
"Listen, we've all got something to bring to this conversation, but from now on what I think you should bring is silence." - Rimmer