World Service?


THE HIT FACTORY: The BBC makes millions licensing programs abroad and selling tie-ins to monster hits like the award-winning Walking With Dinosaurs

The British Broadcasting Corporation has always turned up its nose at commercials. Unlike state-funded, public-service broadcasting networks in France, Germany and elsewhere, the BBC's domestic channels won't air ads, infomercials or the latest industry fad, "branded content" — ads dressed up to look like factual programming. So when the French automaker Renault this week rolls out a series of two-minute sponsored "documentaries" on British television to accompany the launch of its redesigned Scenic van, viewers of BBC One and BBC Two won't see them. But here's the surprise: the BBC made the spots for Renault.

The Renault series...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!