The BBC is not permitted to carry advertising or sponsorship on its public services. This keeps them independent of commercial interests and ensures they can be run purely to serve the general public interest.
If the BBC sold airtime either wholly or partially, advertisers and other commercial pressures would dictate its programme and schedule priorities. There would also be far less revenue for other broadcasters.
The BBC is financed instead by a TV licence fee paid by households. This guarantees that a wide range of high-quality programmes can be made available, unrestricted, to everyone.
The licence fee also helps support production skills, training, local or minority programmes and other services which might not otherwise be financed by the economics of pay-TV or advertising.
The BBC runs additional commercial services around the world. These are not financed by the licence fee but are kept quite separate from the BBC's public services. Profits are used to help keep the licence fee low so that UK licence fee payers can benefit commercially from their investment in programmes.
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