Adverts? Never! BBC Online slammed

Thinking the unthinkable

Critics have slammed the BBC for even considering the idea of running adverts on its Web site.

In an interview published today Greg Dyke, head of the state-owned BBC, told the FT that it was "something we are looking at".

A BBC spokesman told The Register that this was merely "a notion - and no more at present - that's being bounced around".

In a statement, the BBC said: "The BBC has been charged with maximising revenues - we've been given tough targets of internal savings and generating commercial revenues of some £1 billion over the next seven years, as part of its licence fee settlement. You'd expect the BBC to explore all options to bring more public service programmes to viewers and listeners - some may come to fruition, some may not."

But the very idea that the BBC - which is a publicly funded broadcaster and does not carry any commercial advertising on TV or radio - should even entertain this option has drawn sharp criticism from the industry.

Angela Mills of the British Internet Publishers Association (BIPA) said: "This is absolutely unacceptable. We're totally against it.

She also tore into Beeb.com, the commercial arm of BBC Online run by BBC Worldwide. It is currently running a massive ad campaign promoting "Internet shopping on the BBC".

"This is outright exploitation of the BBC brand and gives them unfair advantage," said Ms Mills. ®

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