The BBC has withdrawn a website promoting sponsorship opportunities within its programmes following complaints from commercial rivals saying that the site breached the BBC’s advertising ban.
The site offered advertisers commercial partnerships on various BBC programmes including Children in Need, Saving Planet Earth, Young Musician of the Year and the Radio 2 Folk Awards.
But the BBC made the decision to take down the site following widespread industry criticism and the submission of formal complaints by ITV and RadioCentre.
The corporation says it is reviewing the contents of the site but is standing firm that it has not contravened any advertising rules under its charter, saying it is allowed to enter into sponsorships of live broadcast events.
The controversy began at the end of last year when the BBC entered into a two-year sponsorship agreement with Britvic’s Robinsons drinks division estimated to be worth £200,000. The drinks company is a sponsor of its Sports Personality of the Year programme. However, the BBC has refused to comment on the deal.