Last night Media Watch followed up Crikey’s story on planned advertising on ABC’s mobile sites.

Media Watch asked some curly questions of ABC’s Director of Innovation, Ian Carroll, who stated, “There are no plans for m.abc.net.au sites to carry advertising.”

Mark Scott reiterated these sentiments at his Press Club speech last Wednesday:

There’s been no change in the ABC’s position around this. We’ve indicated that there is no advertising on ABC radio, ABC television, or abc.net.au. And abc.net.au not only includes the sites that you can access from a computer but if you’re accessing abc.net.au on a mobile platform there is no advertising on that either.

But this URL says otherwise: http://www.abc.net.au/wap/bigpond/3g/news/national.htm

It appears that there are already ads being hosted on abc.net.au:

The url on this screen grab contains abc.net.au. Peer at the top banner and you’ll see that it’s an ad.

And here, an ad for flirtatious ringtones:

These screen grabs aren’t taken from future plans, or secret documents emailed to us or to Media Watch. They’re live.

Key in that URL into your browser, or your mobile for that matter, and they should appear as part of the ABC’s licensing deal with Telstra Bigpond. In fact, Crikey believes they’ve been hosted on abc.net.au for at least 18 months.

Here’s an ad for New Zealand:

And more ringtones, again, note the abc.net.au url:

Crikey also noted ads for Pioneer car stereos, among others. 

Crikey asked the following questions of the ABC this morning:

  • How long has there been advertising hosted on abc.net.au?
  • Does this contravene section 15.1.2 of ABC’s editorial guidelines (The ABC will not accept advertising or sponsorship on websites operated by it as part of ABC Online (abc.net.au.)) ?
  • How is it that Mark Scott has reiterated that there is no advertising on abc.net.au, when there are clearly ads hosted on abc.net.au, that can be accessed both online and on a mobile platform?

The ABC responded: “The ABC provides news content to Telstra Bigpond and has done so for many years as part of our licensing deal with Telstra.”

“This url is a simply a technical code which is used to transfer the ABC news content to Telstra Bigpond customers and only exists for this purpose. None of this is accessible from abc.net.au unless you have been provided with the exact code…” an ABC corporate spokesperson said.

Peter Fray

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