Advertising on the BBC

It’s happened, it really happened, I just can’t believe it. The BBC is now running ads on their web portal. Only to users outside the UK, but still.

I grew up on the BBC, this is almost holy ground. Heathen children of advertising may not enter! I’m an agnostic so I don’t really think that, but you get my drift.
I have never seen any advertising on the Beeb (colloquial for BBC) other than promos for their own productions. This marks a huge cultural shift for the state funded broadcasting company. I wonder if they’ll at some point do the same for their mainstay media. Will we start seeing advertising on TV and Radio as well? I’m not sure how ad free UK only radio would work but this is a piece of cake for TV… well almost.

Ethical, moral and personal objections aside this is also an assault on the users of the BBC portal. The Beeb portal has been awarded many times for its excellence in interface design and information architecture. The lack of non-contextual content (read: advertising) has made their many sites best of breed. Clear, concise and un-obfuscated content is to the benefit of the user.
The BBC can ask top dollar, or rather top Euro (the dollar ain’t worth spit these days) for ad placements. On the whole it isn’t much worse than on other portals. I find it strange that they didn’t go the Google route. Privacy issues aside, Adsense does allow for a cleaner and less intrusive interface. I’m sure the Beeb web teams are working out how to deal with this new reality and will come up with alternate and better fitting advertising solution for their portal.
I can see long time web heads at the Beeb contemplating suicide just at the thought of a full size banner across the top of each web page. Followed by thanking the heavens above that it only effects those outside the UK. British expatriates must now feel even further away from home at the sight of a defaced Beeb news web site.
Cheer up lads, we all think advertising sucks.


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