BBC World Service to carry advertising for the first time

Pilot scheme to usher in new commercial era for the Beeb's global radio channels

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The BBC Trust has approved plans to run adverts on BBC World Service radio broadcasts and websites.

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The ground-breaking move – BBC radio has never carried advertisements before – will be in the form of a year-long pilot scheme, under which advertising will be placed in World Service English output on the Berlin FM frequency, as well as the Service’s Arabic, Spanish and Russian websites.

The BBC Trust said the change would put the World Service “on a par with the BBC’s international-facing website, bbc.com”.

The scheme follows a government request that the Service generate £3m from commercial activities by 2013/2014, to offset annual budget cuts of 16% sparked by the planned cessation of Foreign Office funding.

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The proposals were put to the Trust in November. The minutes of that meeting said: “The Trust approved the executive proposals, subject to necessary regulatory processes, noting that permission would also be required from the Foreign Secretary, prior to implementation.”