The BBC is known for its editorial integrity and, at least in the UK, its aversion to advertising. These facts would seem to make an embrace of the current “native advertising” trend difficult. But that’s just what BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s international, revenue-making arm, is doing.
“We have a native advertising program, we’ve had a series of advertisers so far,” BBCWW’s strategy and sales VP Tom Bowman tells Beet.TV. “We’ve done things like that more from the editorial side for a whole lot of years.”
Many publishers are now offering marketers opportunities that blend editorial and commercial. Bowman says advertisers find the format to be “more effort” than straight-up display advertising because they need to have sophisticated exchanges with the publisher. “That diminishes the number of people who ultimately want to do it – but we’re very keen to engage in that area and we have done several times,” Bowman says.
Last year, BBC.com advertised for a “client solutions editor” to commission advertiser “editorial opportunities” across its travel, science, autos, culture and business sits. Bowman says content marketing is “perfectly legitimate” but cautions: “The media owner has to be careful they don’t bring their own product in to disrepute.”
Bowman spoke with Beet.TV at Adap.tv’s Worldwide Publisher Conference.