Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: BBC Worldwide Atones for Its Sins

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: BBC Worldwide Atones for Its Sins

Article excerpt

It is not often that the desire to say something nice about the BBC becomes irresistible. It is so much more fun to give the organisation a good kicking and the Beeb often goes out of its way to invite such attacks.

The most enthusiastic rejoicing should be reserved for the sinner that repenteth and, to a considerable extent, BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has indeed turned its back on the misdeeds of its past.

The onscreen trails for BBC magazines have gone for good and the titles that have absolutely nothing to do with BBC programming have been offloaded.

Some in the private sector will argue that the BBC should not be in magazine publishing at all - or at the very least that the exploitation of its rights should be contracted out to someone who can do it better.

The reforms at Worldwide have already resulted this year in the appointment of a strong external chairman in Etienne de Villiers. Two independent non-executive directors are now being sought, and chief executive John Smith is trying to maximise profit within public-service guidelines. The aim is to run the organisation as if it were a public company, complete with suitable obligations of compliance and transparency.

The scale of the BBC's online presence will remain a problem for many, although it would be bizarre to suggest that there should be no online outlet for the thousands of BBC journalists who are paid for by the public.

Besides, the government wants the corporation to maximise income and impact from its intellectual property.

And at least the long-running 'free-rider' problem is about to be addressed. At the moment, the licence fees paid by unemployed widows in Wigan are funding an excellent news service for millionaires in California.

But, from next year, the plan is that computers accessing BBC online services from outside the UK will be automatically diverted to, which will raise money from advertising. Locals will continue to have an ad-free

The deal is not quite done and dusted yet and has to go before the governors. But ads on BBC online services outside the UK will go ahead, with the only remaining question being what to do about news.

It is likely that permission will be given to include discreet advertising on the news pages of bbc. …

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