Content push sees BBC's local revenue rise 40%

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 9 November 2016
Jamie Chambers and Jelena Li.

Brands diving head first into content have helped the BBC's local offering grow 40% year-on-year.

Not only is the business growing, but its revenue is also on the up, with the British publisher seeing 40% of its local sales being driven by content.

The BBC first announced that is was entering the content marketing game last year at Cannes, when it revealed it was launching its global studio StoryWorks. At the time the publisher launched hubs in Sydney, Singapore, New York and London, saying that this offering brings together the innovative qualities of a creative studio with the agility and responsiveness of the newsroom.

BBC advertising regional director ANZ, Jamie Chambers, told AdNews that even though the offering is only 18 months old it has already overhauled how the business operates locally.

“Putting it bluntly, we've gone from being a business that has done very well out of standard display advertising, but when we launched the StoryWorks division and gave brands the opportunity to have more meaningful partnerships with us, that very quickly changed the complexity of the briefs,” he says.

The BBC launching its global content offering has been coupled with the rise of content marketing or native advertising, with senior content solutions manager for StoryWorks locally, Jelena Li, saying that it's the shift in clients and brands understanding of content that has also led to the business's rise.

“One of the biggest shifts in speaking to clients and agencies directly is there's a much bigger understanding in regards to what good content is and what role content plays in a wider marketing mix,” she told AdNews.

“We're having fewer conversations explaining why a piece of content should not necessarily be about the brand or about the product. A lot of brands are now starting to understand that content is more about context and it's about having an emotional engagement with your audience.”

However there is still a way to go on the content space, with Chambers explaining that some brands and agencies are still giving content KPIs that would be better served to display advertising, such as click through rates.

“Content doesn't always make someone click the buy button. It's not always about conversion, it's more about building affinity with the brand. That's what brands like Red Bull do very well, they don't talk about the drink, they know their main target audience and we have to apply that to every single brand that we work with,” Li added.

The BBC is also dabbling in events, with the publisher launching its first advertising led event in Sydney called the BBC Future World-Changing Ideas Summit. It's being held on 15 November and features speakers from both Australia and overseas.

NAB and IBM have backed the event, and when asked if the BBC is going to be pushing more into events as a revenue stream, Chambers said: “Where it's right. We'll only do something if it fits in with our values.”

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus