BBC Worldwide has gone cold on the almost unthinkable idea of charging overseas users for an ad-free BBC.com. The Guardian threw at BBC World MD Anne Barnard a old rumination from global news director Richard Sambrook, when he said the service would likely appear this year: “This will sit alongside the ad-supported service – so subscription-paying users will not see ads if they are logged in, but will do if not logged in.”
But Barnard said: “We did look into it, but all the evidence from commercial operators is that, whatever people say about wanting a subscription, it is not the case. A number of other operators have moved away from subscriptions.” Sounds like some readers were so upset with BBC.com deciding to offer ads, they pledged to pay to have them removed.
Sambrook acknowledged, in last year’s blog post, industry momentum was moving away from subscription content and to ad-supported, but said the Beeb would like to offer both internationally if the business plan could be worked out.