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For those who, like me, had wondered how the publicly-funded BBC could get away with offering on-screen sponsorships during coverage of events like BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, news that the corporation has shuttered a website touting just such opportunities will come as little surprise. The Times highlighted the site, which touted event “opportunities” to potential sponsors at events from Children In Need to Cardiff Singer Of The World, last week, claiming ITV (LSE: ITV) and others were due to complain about the practice. Quick-smart, it’s been shut down “so that (the BBC) could review the content”, the paper crowed today. That’s probably shorthand for saying the director-general didn’t know about bbceventsponsorship.com, which is still available via The Wayback Machine.
A report has it drinks maker Robinsons paid Auntie £200,000 for a spot on the Sports Personality show. The BBC is rather between a rock and a hard place – forced by the government to make more money from commercial sources, it nevertheless is facing charges of overcommercialisation. When Project Kangaroo this summer starts charging for BBC shows older than seven days, the complaints are likely to continue.