The BBC is continuing its efforts to find overseas advertising money by targeting its main homepage at U.S. audiences for the first time.
The move is a simple case of using geo-IP targeting to show more locally relevant content through BBC.com, the international-facing version of BBC.co.uk.
It’s hardly a paradigm shift. But BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, hopes it will attract more users in order to boost U.S. sales that underperformed in the downturn last year, the second full year in which the BBC has been showing ads to overseas visitors.
The switch means showing a different order of news and features on BBC.com. The site’s TV section refers to its roster of 12 international channels, rather than domestic ones. And BBCWW is still contemplating launching iPlayer internationally, possibly on a paid basis.
The news site, which relaunched yesterday, has split its “Americas” section in to “U.S. & Canada” and “Latin America”, to narrow in on North American eyeballs. It says it has a new Washington, D.C., bureau led by BBC.com U.S. editor Matthew Davis.
News user experience team lead Paul Sissons writes:
“One ad format proved difficult to implement, as its size would affect the whole structure and gridded layout of the site. So we devised a flexible layout, which stretches the right-hand column when a large ad is served … It was an essential problem to solve in order to offer the international version of the site to advertisers as a competitive commercial product.”
BBC.com ad sales grew 41.7 percent to £14.5 million last year, but the website scored an eight percent higher loss of £13 million after investing to build out ad sales teams and underlying infrastructure.
The site’s EVP Luke Bradley-Jones in October told paidContent:UK about the downturn: