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BBC to advertise to foreigners

Adds ads to broadband-delivered video

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UK public broadcaster the BBC is adding advertising to broadband-delivered video news service when it is delivered outside the UK.

The shift to online delivery of video could make a huge difference to the BBC, which is paid for entirely by an annual public levy of around $270 per household across the 24 million or so TV homes in the UK, reaping over $5bn in annual income.

Given the amount of quality programming the BBC carries and shows around the world, by either offering it on a subscription basis or selling its own adverts to people outside the UK, Faultline has calculated that this income might one day grow to subsidise the majority of the license fee. This, of course, is highly politically sensitive given that the BBC wants to have both the license fee and the advertising revenue, and it is banned from accepting advertising inside the UK, under threat of losing its government charter.

So far the company has only said it will add the advertising to its news, but other programmes are likely to follow. This has been made possible by recent advances in geo identity software which can distinguish which country each web viewer is viewing from.

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Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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