Cookies Notice


Last updated on March 15, 2021

BBC Studios Distribution, a commercial subsidiary of the BBC, operates a range of online services, including commercial websites and mobile apps. This notice describes how cookies and other specialist web technologies are used to support our websites and the options available to you.

To learn more about how we treat other personal data please read our Privacy Policy.

  1. About Cookies
  2. How cookies are used on our websites
  3. Third party cookies
  4. Your choices
  5. How to contact us

1. About cookies (and similar technologies)

A cookie is a small text file that is automatically sent to your device where it is stored by your web browser. The cookie stores a unique identifier (a string of random characters) so that your browser can be distinguished from others, and are often used to link your browser to databases that hold data about your usage and inferred interests, along with other data such as your IP address. They are used for various functions - from enabling the website to work, by recognising the same user as they navigate from one page to another; to analysing what content is viewed and is popular, through to personalising content based on browsing behaviour and interests.

Cookies may be stored by the website you are visiting (a “first party cookie”) or by a technology provider, such as an analytics company, advertising network or social media platform (a “third party cookie”). Third party cookies may be used to link your browsing behaviour across multiple sites. Cookies are either stored for the duration of your visit (a “session cookie”) or they will remain on your device for a fixed period (usually several months, or longer) to remember you across multiple browsing sessions (a “persistent cookie”).

Other types of storage, such as local or “HTML” storage

Many websites use local storage technologies that are similar to cookies but enable larger amounts of data to be stored. This means they can store information like your preferences and viewing history on your device rather than on their own systems.

Other tracking technologies, such as pixels

Websites and email communications may also use embedded code to record how you interact with them (recognising your browser via the unique ID stored in their cookie or your device “AdID”). They are often used to send data about your browsing to a third party, such as a social media company or advertiser to measure engagement with their content or to personalise ads or marketing.

Tracking via Apps

Companies are unable to use cookies within Mobile Apps. Instead they use unique identifiers associated with your device, such as the device Advertising ID (a random and resettable ID on your device), and other data such as your geo-location or your network location. This data is used in the same way as cookies, e.g. to analyse and improve services and to serve marketing and advertising to you (if the App is funded by advertising).

2. How cookies are used on our services

Cookies are used for the purposes described below. The specific cookies used by a service are listed and described in the cookie management platform for that service. This is presented to you when you first visit the website, when we periodically refresh the cookies used, and/or when we periodically ask you to review your preferences. You can also load the preference centre by clicking on “Cookie Settings”, usually found in the footer of the service.

Cookie Purposes

  • Necessary: these are cookies that are technically necessary to enable the effective operation of the service. For example, to enable you to navigate the service, to remember your cookie preferences, to keep our service secure and for system administration, such as preventing fraudulent or disruptive activity. Without these cookies the service may not operate as it should and so these are not optional.
  • Functional: these cookies support functionality that improves your experience or provides features you have requested.
  • Statistics/Performance: these cookies are used to enable us to analyse and improve the performance of the service. For example, to help us to know how many users we have, which parts of our sites are most popular, what browsers are used (so we can maximise compatibility), the country or region where our users are located, and the demographics and interests of our users. This enables us to understand better who is using our site, to ensure we are reaching our target demographic, and to improve and tailor our services accordingly. We might also use cookies to measure the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns (online and by email).
  • Marketing: these cookies enable us to show you marketing messages (or ads) on our Services and elsewhere online, and allow us to understand the effectiveness of our marketing (for example, whether you viewed or clicked on one of our ads). We may use marketing technologies so that we can promote our services to you, which could be personalised to you based on your use of the service and/or your inferred interests. They also support social media features, such as enabling you to share our content via your social media account(s) and to embed content from social media platforms (such as video content). These companies might use cookies to provide these services or otherwise enable them to track your use of their services.

3. Third party cookies

We use a number of specialist companies to help us to run our services effectively and to provide marketing functionality, as described in the previous section. These technology providers use and control cookies on our services, which may be used for their own purposes, including for the purposes of tracking your browsing behaviour across multiple websites. We undertake checks to ensure that these companies keep your data secure and handle it fairly and responsibly.

Below we describe how we use the key technologies running through our services, with links to their privacy policies where you can find out more about what they do with your data. This is a list of the common technologies used to support our websites and other online services. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

Full details of the technologies used on a specific website are provided in the cookie management platform for that service (available via Cookie Settings in the footer).

Provider Category Purpose More info
Google ReCaptcha Necessary reCAPTCHA helps us prevent automated access to our websites by computer programmes or “bots”, by collecting information from your browser or device, such as the cookies Google has placed over the last 6 months, the number of mouse clicks you have made on our web page (or screen touches on a touch screen device) and what language you have selected. Google may use the information they collect for their own additional purposes, which are described. For more information please refer to the reCAPTCHA privacy notice. You can find out more about how Google uses data here, along with how you can control what Google does with your personal information
Google Analytics Analytics This is a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. Google Analytics sets a cookie in order to evaluate use of those services and compile a report for us. You can find out more about how Google uses data here. You can also install a browser plugin to opt out from Google Analytics across all websites.
Google Marketing Platform Marketing We use Google Marketing Platform to serve and to measure the effectiveness of our online marketing campaigns. We may also use this cookie to derive demographics and interests data for analytics purposes. You can find out more about how Google uses data here. You can also opt out across all websites via your Google settings.
Inspectlet Analytics We use Inspectlet for a more in-depth understanding of how our websites are used. It records mouse interactions with the page or site to enable us to see how users move around our content. This enables us to spot issues and improve our service(s). Inspectlet acts in the capacity of a service provider only via first party cookies.
Twitter Marketing We use Twitter sharing buttons and/or embeds to enable you to connect you with our content on Twitter. For example, to show you a Twitter feed on our service, or to provide sharing capabilities. When you interact or click on these, Twitter may set cookies for its own purposes. Twitter explain how they use cookies and your options in relation to them here.
Validity (email tracking) Marketing We use tracking in our emails to understand whether they have been delivered and opened by subscribers to our marketing emails. We do this by embedding a pixel in an image in our emails. You can opt out from this tracking by blocking images from being shown by your email client (most do this by default). Salesforce and Validity are acting as our service providers and do not use your data for their own purposes.

4. Your choices

Depending on where you are accessing our website from (for example, in the UK and Europe), we will ask for your prior consent for the use of cookies and other specialist technologies. We will ask for your consent again if any new types of cookies have been added to the site.

You can manage your cookie preferences by clicking on the Cookie Settings/Preferences link in the footer of the relevant BBC Studios website.

You can also choose how cookies (across all websites) are handled on your device via your browser settings including to block or delete all cookies or just third party cookies. Each browser manufacturer is different, so check the "Help" menu of your browser to learn how to change your cookie preferences.

5. How to contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about BBC Studios’ use of cookies please email us at: dataprotection@bbc.com.