Diary: Speaker's Corner

Bloody BBC. I really mean that and not just because, like most of us working in media sales, I compete with it. But it's not the competition I'm complaining about.

It's the cross-promotion, which is so relentless that, even as a regular viewer and listener, I'm sometimes turned off by it. It makes Sky look almost reticent by comparison. And that's before you even get to the effect that all this cross-promotion ultimately has on my sales targets and thus my wallet.

Tune into the BBC 1 breakfast show just before the hour and there's a plug for whatever the "hot" topic of the day is on your local BBC radio station. Watch Alan Titchmarsh (ok, we all make mistakes) and there's a plug for Little Britain on BBC 3. Enjoying the 9am phone-in on Five Live? Get the plug for Carling Cup action in full on Five Live Extra later that evening.

On it goes. And the problem is that as the BBC's footprint expands with digital radio and television (and that's before all the other serious commercial activities in magazine publishing), it's going to get worse. Not only does the BBC have more and more stuff to promote, it has more and more channels on which to promote it. Double whammy.

Worse still, the stuff it's promoting falls into what can be described as the "minority" spectrum. In order to justify the amount it spends commissioning this minority stuff, it has to get the biggest audience it can, hence it promotes the stuff to death.

As a licence-fee payer, do I care that it spends a fortune making these plugs for stuff I'm not interested in? Absolutely.

Does it rankle that, because it's the BBC, it can run these promotions on channels whose audiences potentially number in the millions for free?

Whereas, if I were to do the same, it would cost me a fortune. Go figure.

And another thing: as pieces of promotion, as pure ads, they're really rather good. In fact, some of them are downright brilliant. Better than ours. And that's what really sticks in the throat.

Got an axe to grind? E-mail us at campaign@haynet.com.

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