Which media owner is ’cheeky, personal, engaging and
Any ideas? No doubt that august national broadcasting institution, the
BBC, didn’t feature at all in your reply.
But perhaps that was a trick question. It isn’t the BBC, but its new
’beeb’ brand. Beeb, the fruit of last year’s alliance between BBC
Worldwide and ICL, aims to create a Web service around BBC radio and TV
programmes, magazines and personalities.
The beeb site will launch to the general public over the next few months
and, in the meantime, will be trying hard to fit into that new-media
groove (Campaign, last week). Because, after all, this is one part of
the BBC that will need advertising revenue to survive.
Last month beeb launched the first of the nine content strands - about
motoring - it will introduce over the coming months.
Actually, it’s not that new - it turned out to be Top Gear, the Website
of the magazine of the TV programme. Next up, though, on 5 June, will be
the launch of the Score, an entirely new ’attitudinal Webzine’ devoted
to giving sports fans the latest news and results, as well as what
appears, at first glance, to be a fairly standard-looking assortment of
previews and features.
But what elevates this whole exercise is the presence of the BBC’s
cherished brand names. They might not be ’cheeky’, but they don’t need
to be - beeb can wheel out Alan Hansen, Des Lynam and the Match of the
Day name and sell it to advertisers. The June launch date for the Score
was picked so it could open up as a Test Match Special featuring
ball-by-ball coverage of the Test Match against the Australians. One
welcome innovation will be a Scorewatch application that can be
downloaded and customised so that it keeps you up to date with those
sports scores and results you are specifically interested in.
’The very presence of the BBC online is going to help the whole
new-media ad market take off, and make advertisers think about being
more creative with their Net advertising, because the BBC’s a brand
everyone can understand,’ Richard Holman, the managing director of New
Media Marketing and Sales, says.
The next content area to be launched, later next month, is the TV and
film strand. Although beeb isn’t saying what that’s all about, it
doesn’t take much of a leap to see that the Radio Times is going to be a
pretty big part of the site. Later in the year there will be comedy,
travel, science fiction and ’edutainment’.
’Part of what we are doing with this system of Webzines is creating
communities that will appeal to advertisers,’ beeb’s head of marketing,
Simon Johnson, says. ’And we are hoping that advertisers will get
involved with all aspects of the Webzines, not just with taking banner
Johnson has every right to be hopeful - ad revenue is pencilled in as
the scheme’s biggest single revenue source and the ad director, Simon
Sadie, a former associate director of Mediapolis, has announced that
beeb rates will be set on impacts and against a range of
Other revenue streams will be developed from subscriptions - certain
games and virtual environments within the Webzines may be available on a
pay basis - as well as from an online shopping service and royalties
from other service providers that carry beeb content.
’Our aim is to make the Website the third medium after TV and radio,’
Which, if he is right, would make this ’cheeky, personal, engaging and
responsive’ medium the BBC’s very first port of call for advertisers.