Hang on, haven't they done this already? Today's announcement confirms that BBC will set up bbc.com as its international, advertiser funded website, in the same way as it has set up BBC World TV. They claim 40 million unique users a month, mostly to news. I hear world service RADIO in English announcing a whole range of websites. www.BBCWorldservice.com takes you to a non-commercial site, which presumably will become commercial in the future. Then we hear some WS programmes talk about www.bbcnews.com, which I guess will also go commercial. Sites like www.beeb.com, www.bbcamerica.com. and BBC Prime have been commercial for years.
But BBC World Service radio in English still falls under a UK grant in aid, right? So how will they handle the cross-promotion issues? Currently, Click, a tech show on BBC World TV cannot cross-promote its sister radio programme Digital Planet, because one is commercially funded, the other is grant-in-aid. There still seems to be a strange dividing line between radio and TV, when international radio is not really a threat to the commercial market place. By the way, public sites carrying commercials isn't new in The Netherlands - happens all the time (see http://www.omroep.nl)