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BBC.com begins commercial push

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The BBC has already begun serving advertising to overseas visitors to its website, after its governing body agreed to the move last month.

The rollout is being run by the Beeb's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. It's starting with a gradual launch of European and North American campaigns ahead of a "full deployment" in January, a spokeswoman told us.

Ads are appearing on both the homepage and the main news page (screengrab here). So far, we've seen Flash marketing for British Airways and Airbus adorning BBC pages.

Making money back from its worldwide online presence is a top financial priority for the cash-strapped public service broadcaster, which is taking heavy job losses to cut costs.

The BBC is paid for by UK viewers through a £135.50 ($282.76) annual TV licence fee. BBC Worldwide has been ordered to double the cash it funnels back into corporation coffers within five years.

The plan for website ads was agreed to by the BBC Trust on the condition the ads don't distract too much from editorial content. There will be no pop-ups, and ads will appear only on heavily-trafficked pages. The BBC is using IP address-based geo-targeting to ensure that UK users do not see the ads, although it is not fool proof. ®

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Cheers to Rew for the screengrab.

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