BBC news online makes £13m international loss

BBC Worldwide has reported an annual loss of £20.8m in its New Media division despite international users of the BBC website increasing to 66 million a month.

The digital media division of the BBC’s commercial partner organisation WorldWide has a remit to develop new ways to deliver content on digital platforms and sells advertising on the international version of the BBC website.

Overall it reported sales up nine per cent to £30m and operating losses improving to £20.8m for the year to the end of March, compared with a loss of £30m the year before.

The international version of the BBC news website, called BBC.com, reported losses up £1m year on year to £13m on sales of £14.5m (up from £10.2m).

According to the BBC Worldwide annual report, traffic to BBC.com grew to 54 million unique users a month.

Worldwide said that it is investing in a new technical plaform to deliver a “more flexible site enabling enhanced localisation to drive ad sales”. Other future plans include an internationally-facing travel site.

The Global Websites division, which publishes the online versions of BBC magazine brands, made a loss of £5.3m (down from £15m) on sales up 15.4 per cent to £3.8m.

Worldwide said: “Prospects for the online advertising market are considerably improved for 2010/11 but the level of recovery will vary market by market.”

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