ITV cries foul over BBC 'advertising' as corporation mulls turning commercial arm into plc

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ITV has written to the BBC accusing it of taking “advertising by the back door” by accepting drinks manufacturer Robinsons as a sponsor of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event.

According to the Sunday Times, the deal is worth £200,000 and included a number of prominent mentions on screen and on Radio FiveLive. The BBC has insisted the deal does not breach advertising rules.

The paper also reveals that the BBC is considering selling or floating its commercial division, BBC Worldwide, on the stock exchange. Analysts have valued the books, magazines and DVD publishing arm at around £2bn.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, BBC finance director Zarin Patel outlines her priorities for cost-cutting at the BBC, starting with the corporation’s vast portfolio of property.

Other parts of the BBC could also be offloaded – including the outside broadcast unit.

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