MPs to investigate BBC plans to launch international ad-funded website

MPs are to investigate the BBC's decision to set up an international website, funded by advertising, next spring.

The move was criticised this week by advertisers and agencies as the "thin end of the wedge" which could lead to widespread advertising on the BBC.

Geoff Russell, the IPA's director of media affairs, said: "The international nature of the internet makes this development particularly worrying. Inevitably, the BBC website will be drawing revenues away from commercially funded rivals."

Although some advertisers support ads on parts of the BBC, an ISBA spokesman said: "We recognise the impact that advertising across the BBC would have on the UK commercial media environment. The BBC should fulfil its public-service remit rather than go head-on against commercial media."

- Comment, page 48.