It may have got lost in news of job cuts but the BBC Trust has approved the proposal to launch BBC.com with advertising support, global news director Richard Sambrook revealed. A first phase in November will see ads added to high-traffic pages, before ads are rolled out more widely later. Here’s the mock-up.
The site, from the commercial overseas wing BBC Worldwide and from Sambrook’s division, will not show ads to UK visitors, who will likely have paid license fees for their BBC content. The existing site currently gets 40 million non-UK users a month. Worldwide will now take on the £4 million per year the international site was getting from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office while the BBC World TV channel will get some payback for contributing its editorial resources.
BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith called it “a key step in delivering our strategy of growing our online revenues to 10% of revenues and building a portfolio of direct to consumer business” (via release). Sambrook: “Advertising seems to be the obvious way for them to contribute to the costs of the site … BBC World TV news has been a commercial channel since its launch 16 years ago … We will not be offering highly intrusive advertising and are taking significant steps to manage any potential conflict of interest between advertisers and editorial content.” Sambrook said earlier tests had shown users “did not express a strong objection”. Portions of BBC Worldwide revenue are reinvested in to domestic public service production.