Feeds

Five years ago: BBC shrugs off Web float rumours

20 July 1999

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

There was a time when suggesting that the BBC privatise part of its operation was akin to mooting the idea that the British monarchy be sold off to the Americans. Some Beeb services have, of course, been "outsourced" to private companies - all in the name of efficiency and economy - but when it comes to the online stuff, well, it's just not cricket:

BBC shrugs off Web float rumours

By Lucy Sherriff
Published Tuesday 20th July 1999 12:40 GMT

The BBC is thinking about floating Beeb.com, its commercial Internet service, according to rumours floated in the UK this morning. Fire-brigading BBC spin doctors speedily hosed the notion with cold water, but you can see why it might be tempting.

Privatisation of any part of the BBC would be a political hot potato, but the outfit has been getting more and more commercial since the heady days of Thatcherism, and it's spent an awful lot of money on its - generally well-regarded - Internet activities.

"It's because of the Davies Panel examining our funding," a spokesman said of the rumour. "People are saying that we are planning to sell off everything except the Teletubbies. It really is total speculation." Estimates based on the Freeserve valuation would put the value of the Beeb.com at more than £500 million. The corporation currently brings in annual revenue of £2.15 billion from licence fees, so the hypothetical sale of Beeb.com would not go far to replace the money that would be lost if the licence fee was scrapped, but would come in very handy if it was cut, or frozen.

Another spokeswoman for the BBC said that the corporation had no formal plans to sell off any of its appendages. "It is very speculative," she said. "The Davies Report isn't even written yet and there will be a consultation period and so on. All this speculation has been sparked by the article in the Sunday Times about the possible sale of BBC Worldwide."

Beeb.com is funded by advertising and the sale of its content to other web sites. Official ABC figures for March put monthly page impressions for the site at 8.8 million and recorded 402,000 individual users. This is a mere bagatelle by the standards on BBC Online sites, clocking in excess of 80 million a month, but it's still not at all bad.


Beeb.com now points to http://www.bbcshop.com - a veritable e-cornucopia of Corporation merchandising. The portal was revamped in 2002 with a £1m facelift and a new e-commerce platform by ICL. Happy shopping indeed.

Nothing ever came of the "privatisation" rumours, although the BBC's Internet presence has been under scrutiny recently: five sites recently got the chop after a government review demanded a tougher line on whether online material adequately fulfilled the Beeb's public service remit.

Most current rumours about the best-known BBC Web service - www.bbc.co.uk - centre around the possibility of demanding registration for the news therein as a prelude to - God forbid - punters having to stump up hard cash for the service. The licence payers would certainly have something to say about that. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?