The Beeb, paid for by taxpayers, has very quietly found a revenue stream outwith that of our pockets. However, if you go to the BBC News pages, you probably won't see it. That's because it is (apparently) advertising only "to visitors outside of the UK".
"We've introduced advertising to visitors outside of the UK because the new revenue created will allow us to further improve our journalism, our programmes and our website in the years ahead.
Impartiality is of the utmost importance to us at the BBC and for this reason advertising will be clearly separated from editorial content. Advertising will not have any bearing on the news, information or programme content or create the impression of endorsement by the BBC.
We guarantee that you will continue to receive the same high-quality independent content that has made the BBC website one of the most popular news and entertainment sites in the world."(here's a basic mock up of how it looks - top yellow box: advert. Side yellow box: where adverts are now being placed also with the OTHER TOP STORIES being moved about 4 inches down, out of view when you first open the page)
But when I went on the website, from my office, in the UK, I could see those adverts as plain as day. That'll be the gap in the 99.96% accuracy then!
But my first big question is...if the BBC is now generating other revenue streams, whether outside the UK or not, will this affect the license fee? Nope - I'm going to guess not. (obviously this is not on the Frequently Asked Questions page, yet).
But my other question is...if the adverts are at the very top of the screen, pushing all the news content down by a few inches, and there is also an advert prominently at the top right where visitors are used to clicking for news links, how can they claim that this is "clearly separated from editorial content. Advertising will not have any bearing on the news, information or programme content". Clearly replacing, not separated. You have put an ad where a large proportion of the 'clicking' takes place on your page and the first view of the page now contains adverts when it didn't before and as a result...LESS NEWS at first sight.
What limits or controls will be put on what/who can advertise? There is nothing about this on the information pages. Is there an ethical list made up, so as not to support anything like the airline industry, the oil industry etc? Could David Cameron or Nick Griffin get an ad on there becuase if it's purely based on "who's got the biggest wallet" then there is a major ethical problem for the organisation.
I am a staunch fan and supporter of the BBC in general but the integrity of the Beeb is in question now. They are resorting to tactics which it is supposed to avoid and all with as little fanfare as possible and to be honest, in these hostile times for the BBC, it is, without realising it, looking for a fight that many will be happy to take it up on - and making me angry during lunch when I'm at work trying to read the news or about Rod Stewart as next Scotland manager.
(P.S. Does BBC Scotland get a cut of this money, I would like to know)
Dear Points of View...