Labour warned against allowing the BBC to introduce advertising

A coalition of commercial media and content businesses have written to the Labour Party to warn against allowing the BBC to introduce advertising.

They say adverts around audio would cause damage to the UK’s creative industries and the content provided for audiences.

Yesterday (Thursday 13th June) the Labour Party published its election manifesto which highlights the huge potential for growth in the creative industries that benefit every corner of the UK.

In a letter to Thangam Debbonaire, Shadow Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, the 15 signatories, including small businesses as well as some of the UK’s foremost media brands, highlight the devastating impact of such a change for consumers, licence fee payers and the creative economy.

The BBC’s services are currently funded by £3.8bn in licence fee income. Commercial media businesses rely primarily on advertising revenues, which would be eroded significantly if the BBC also sought to generate advertising.

This would inevitably reduce the ability of commercial operators – across radio, news, television and podcasting – to invest in content and services for audiences.

Signatories include:

  • Audioboom
  • Bauer
  • COBA
  • DMG Media
  • Global
  • Goalhanger
  • Guardian Media Group
  • News UK
  • News Media Association
  • PPA
  • Podmasters
  • Radiocentre
  • Reach
  • Telegraph Media Group
  • Tortoise

Last month, Radiocentre joined a wide coalition of media and content business who wrote to Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, to highlight concerns with the BBC’s plans and to request that Ofcom conduct an urgent review of the audio and podcast market.

Radiocentre CEO Matt Payton told RadioToday: “Our creative sector is a success story that provides British audiences with world-leading content and services. All of this could be put at risk if the BBC goes ahead with plans to introduce advertising, starting with audio and podcasts.

“Audiences understandably do not expect advertising around BBC content, which they have already paid for through the licence fee. We hope that this issue will be addressed swiftly when parliament returns after the election and that Ofcom will exercise its powers to prevent the BBC from introducing such a damaging change.”