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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

BBC Global News offers free ad slots for coronavirus public health guidance

The BBC offers TV and online advertising support to public health bodies

To help international and governmental organisations share important guidance on the coronavirus, BBC Global News is offering up a fifth of its TV and online advertising inventory to be filled with public health messaging.

While people are desperate to equip themselves with the right information during this uncertain time, detrimental fake news stories have been circulating – particularly on social media. The BBC has found it has a genuine role to play in curbing the spread of misinformation.

BBC World News and BBC.com are currently receiving a record amount of visitors, with 60 million people arriving at the BBC’s online news service (up 50% on the average). Of that record amount, more than 80% (49 million) were there to learn more about the coronavirus.

“Our job is to report on the developing crisis around the world in a period when people need news they can genuinely trust. But if we can support public health agencies in doing their job in these unprecedented times I feel we have a responsibility to help,” explained Jim Egan, chief executive of BBC Global News.

Therefore, it is giving the opportunity for major multilateral organisations and national health ministries to broadcast correct guidance on its TV and online platform. Through this endeavour, it will replace 20% of its advertising inventory.

Beyond this, to help combat the spread of misinformation, BBC Global News is to provide more coronavirus-related content, which has been commissioned in response to the growing audience demand around the world.

After the BBC axed her BBC2 current affairs and investigative show, Victoria Derbyshire is set to host a new regular half-hour programme – Coronavirus: What You Need to Know. It will explain what the coronavirus is, how you can catch it and how to protect yourself.

Joining this, BBC Global News has commissioned Coronavirus Explained – a short daily update that will be broadcast on the channel across the day alongside the dedicated Coronavirus index on BBC.com and the daily Coronavirus Global Podcast.

The BBC joins other bodies offering free ad space, including Facebook, which offered 'millions' of free advertising credits for ministers to reach out directly to people on Facebook and Instagram.

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