BBC Trust approves ads for bbc.com, seen only outside the UK (updated).

Posted: 01 Nov 2007   Print   Send a link
"The advertisements on the new site will only be visible to overseas users, who will be identified using Quova geo-IP software. The corporation says this software is more than 99.96 per cent accurate and that UK users' experience of the existing BBC.co.uk will not be affected." Press Gazette, 18 October 2007. "Last month MediaGuardian.co.uk revealed that BBC Worldwide sidelined research that found that US audiences would be turned off by advertising on the international BBC website." Media Guardian, 17 October 2007. "BBC Worldwide says advertising will generate new income for the BBC, which needs to plug a £2bn budget shortfall. The BBC argues that overseas readers, who do not pay the licence fee, should contribute towards the costs. However, critics say commercialisation will undermine the editorial integrity of the BBC and is a slippery slope towards privatisation." BBC News, 18 October 2007. See also BBC Worldwide press release, 18 October 2007 and BBC Trust regulatory framework, 18 October 2007. Presumably, the geo-IP technology that limits ad views to users outside the U.K. could also enable lawyers with too much time on their hands to enforce the Smith-Mundt Act by preventing Americans from viewing the websites of U.S. international broadcasting entities. Update: "The clever bit, if it works, is that the technology will distinguish between the local ad-free service at bbc.co.uk, and the foreigners at bbc.com. This solves two problems at once. The millions of freeloaders in the US who dip into licence-fee-funded material will start making a contribution. In time, maybe bbc.com ad money will start contributing to BBC News, just in case getting rid of 500 journalists’ jobs wasn’t such a great idea after all." Raymond Snoddy, Brand Republic, via The Economic Times (India), 30 October 2007.