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Small Podcasters Fear Being Crushed As BBC Eyes Ad Revenue 

Britain’s biggest media companies express “deep concern” over the BBC’s plan to introduce advertising on some of its podcasts for UK listeners, according to a letter sent to Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer. The letter comes from 20 companies, including broadcasters ITV and Sky, radio giants Bauer and Global, and podcast firm Goalhanger, co-founded by Gary Lineker.

The companies argue that the BBC, with its staggering £5.7 billion income, compared to a mere £76 million for the UK podcast advertising market in 2022, holds an “unfair competitive advantage” that threatens independent podcasters. The letter states that the impact of the BBC extracting audio advertising funds from the nascent UK podcasting market would be disastrous, especially for the numerous small independent podcast producers.

Under the BBC’s proposal announced in March, listeners on third-party platforms like Apple and Spotify would hear ads, while those on BBC Sounds would not. The companies claim this “puts BBC Sounds at a distinct advantage as a platform” over competitors.

The letter calls the changes “highly likely to have a significant adverse impact on fair and effective competition,” requesting media regulator Ofcom conduct a review of the UK audio market.

A government spokesperson told the BBC that “the BBC has a responsibility under the Charter to avoid adverse impacts on the wider market” and that Ofcom should hold it accountable. Britain’s biggest broadcaster, on the other hand, justifies the plan as a means to “generate more revenue” in the face of declining income and saving requirements, thereby ensuring its sustainability in the long run.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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