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BBC courts trouble as it looks to take ads online

The UK’s public service broadcaster, the BBC, is considering a controversial plan to take advertisements on its licence-fee funded website BBC Online.

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LONDON (Brand Republic) – The UK’s public service broadcaster, the BBC, is considering a controversial plan to take advertisements on its licence-fee funded website BBC Online.

If the BBC pushes the plans forward it would be likely to face opposition from politicians against commercialising the BBC and from media rivals competing for the limited online advertising market.

Critics including Hugo Drayton, managing director of Hollinger Telegraph New Media, have been vocal over the activities of BBC Online. This latest move is sure to excite renewed criticism.

The extra revenues derived from online ads would boost funding for programming and online content.

However, BBC director general, Greg Dyke, has said he is still opposed to advertising on BBC television and radio and BBC Online’s news and education site would remain ad-free.

The need for extra revenues stems from Dyke’s calculations that, even after the BBC receives a licence fee increase this year, it will require a further £400m from commercial activities to reach its programme-making targets for 2002-2006.

The BBC already gets additional funding from its commercial arm BBC Worldwide, which is currently undergoing a review of how it can generate more revenues. BBC Worldwide also operates beeb.com, the BBC’s commercial web venture.

The corporation is also considering a flotation of its joint venture with Telewest-owned Flextech, UKTV, which produces digital channels UK Gold and UK Living.

Dyke said that he is currently looking at the ways in which its public online service could benefit from commercial opportunities and whether it would be feasible.

www.bbc.co.uk

www.beeb.com



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