BBC Makes Money From Online Advertising

bbc webandrank.thumbnail BBC Makes Money From Online AdvertisingMost UK citizens have the feeling that it is not right for the BBC to have advertising on any of its media platforms, from radio, TV, printed publications and online.
The BBC WEBSITE as most people are aware does include advertising and some of it is considered a little cumbersome and annoying. Webandrank thought it would be worth investigating this and finding out what exactly is going on with BBC advertising online.
The BBC states in its policy that:
The BBC is not permitted to carry advertising or sponsorship on its public services. This keeps them independent of commercial interests and ensures that they can be run instead to serve the general public interest.
If the BBC sold airtime either wholly or partially, advertisers and other commercial pressure would dictate its program and schedule priorities…
The BBC is financed instead by a TV license fee paid by households. This guarantees that a wide range of high-quality programs can be made available, unrestricted, to everyone.
Importantly the BBC policy statement goes onto say that the BBC does run additional commercial services around the world and that they are no way financed by the license fee but are kept completely separate from the BBC’s public services. The profits, they say, are used to fund the betterment of UK programming and can help keep the UK license fee low.
The commercial arms of the BBC are BBC Worldwide (a media and entertainment company), BBC Studios and Post Production (an organisation that helps just about anyone who can afford it to make TV programs) and BBC World News (which brings world news to the global; audience).
According to the BBC Worldwide the financial results for 2009-2010 were £1,074,000 in sales (group revenue and the Group’s share of joint-venture’ revenue) and £145,000,000 in profit (operating profits).
The BBC Worldwide constantly makes us aware that the money they make commercially is for the benefit of the UK tax payer. The two core ways the commercial arm of the BBC makes money is through online advertising and exploiting brands (otherwise known as TV programmes) such as Planet Earth, Doctor Who and Top Gear across different media and markets.
The BBC says that it tries its hardest to ‘use sophisticated technology, to make sure that the advertising is only visible to people outside the UK’, but often people are seeing adverts anyway. The website does have adverts. There is one on the main page (Cathay Pacific) but most adverts are saved for the videos (Cathay Pacific) and to sponsor other little projects such as BBC travel (Hilton). The adverts embedded in the videos are quite annoying as they can take time to load and they slow the whole process of watching news videos down. Also if you watch several videos it becomes boring to watch the same advertisements over and over again.
The issue is that will the advertising water down the core principles of the BBC. The BBC is a strange institution, some see it as a government run orgainsation (as it uses public money) but it is in fact supposed to be completely independent. This independence supported by public money is also supposed to keep it out of the hands of private money and lobby groups. The BBC is a powerful tool and could be abused by the wrong people to spread negative messages or to simply make stack loads of money.
No doubt at the inception of the commercial arm of the BBC the arguments internally between the different sections of the BBC must have brought the institution to breaking point. It is hard to see how the commercial arm which is completely owned by the BBC will not affect the whole institution itself. You cannot say that I am a non-commercial company, but there is a part which is commercial but don’t worry that’s totally separate.
The BBC does continue to deliver fine products (questionably – better than most I would say) such as Planet Earth. The news reports tend to read with less of a bias then say ‘The Daily Mail’ or the ‘The Sun’ newspapers. It is hard to suggest that the BBC is completely without bias but it seems more neutral than most.
The website has an Alexa ranking of 45 making it the number one ranked news site on the web. I tend to give it a daily check as it is easy to use and gives me what I need quickly.
If the BBC continues in the same way as it did before it started advertising, who is to say that the BBC shouldn’t exploit its money making potential. If as they say they only extract money from citizens outside the UK (NON LICENCE PAYING paying) to pump back into the UK, helping to keep the license fee low and raise the quality of programming, what is the problem with that?