Budget: Bureau of Meteorology to trial advertising on its website

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BUDGET 2012: Little things tend to be disregarded when we have major projects announced. However, hidden in the budget is that the Bureau of Meteorology will soon have ads on its website for a one-year trial.

“The trial will assist the Government to determine the long‑term feasibility of advertising, potential revenue and the level of public acceptance,” budget papers say. “Revenue from the trial will contribute to meet the costs of the services provided by the Bureau.”

“The Bureau’s website is one of the top ten visited websites in Australia, with more than 3.3 billion page views recorded in 2011,” it also added.

Currently, SBS is the only government service that has advertising – but it is allowed to do so, mainly because it supplements its government funding (especially since it is mandated to be a multicultural broadcaster).

One positive is that online advertising could be a way to partially fund certain parts of the government. But should the Bureau of Meteorology have ads?

The BBC has advertising, despite being funded by a licence fee. However, this affects only international viewers, rather than domestic. A similar thing could be done by the ABC, if it really, really wants to do so. But the Bureau of Meteorology is predominantly used by Australians not internationally, so its a big ask to accept a government website to have ads.