The BBC should be freed from the shackles of the licence fee and
allowed to take money from the commercial sector to fuel its expansion
plans and improve quality, according to the Incorporated Society of
British Advertisers’ submission to the Davies Committee on BBC
ISBA, whose resurrection of the campaign to put advertising on the BBC
was revealed in Campaign (5 March), will use its submission document to
argue the corporation has a real funding problem - and to present
These include ads on Ceefax, boosting advertising on BBC Worldwide and
introducing sponsorship on BBC TV and radio - as well as the most
obvious option of allowing spot advertising on BBC TV and Radios 1 and
ISBA has employed a team of econometricians to support its arguments,
which hinge on the belief that a more commercial BBC need not be harmful
to traditional commercial media.
It suggests that the new money will help improve programming and drive
expansion both into digital TV in the UK and globally.
John Hooper, director-general of ISBA, said in a letter to Campaign:
’The Blair Government is only too aware of growing public restlessness
at the licence fee poll tax and is responsibly concerned to alleviate
the hardships of the elderly and the disabled in paying it.’ The letter
will be published in full next week.
However, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising will stop short
of backing ISBA’s call, suggesting that the BBC should, instead, try to
be more complementary to commercial TV and radio and calling again for a
single regulatory body to monitor the BBC alongside commercial TV and
Meanwhile, the Central Office of Information has spoken out for the
first time against suggestions that government ads on the BBC would help
alleviate some of the inflationary pressures on the price of TV
According to Peter Buchanan, the director of marketing communications at
the COI, the move would lead to a substantial loss of communication
effectiveness for COI ads (Opinion, p27).
Media Forum, p20.