Cookies and Tracking Technologies Policy | Top Gear
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Wednesday 4th October

Cookies and Tracking Technologies Policy

Updated on 26 June 2023

BBC Studios Distribution, a commercial subsidiary of the BBC, operates a range of commercial websites.  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


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).


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.

Advertising. This website features advertising, some of which may be personalised, which helps us to pay for creating and delivering content to you. In the UK, the advertising on this website is managed on our behalf by our magazine publishing partner, Immediate MediaDepending on your cookie and data settings, some of these Ads may be personalised based on information known or inferred about you and your interests.  This personalisation helps us to show you more relevant Ads. It also means we can receive more revenue from our advertisers, allowing us to invest more in great content.  

To create an ad profile for personalisation, unique identifiers (IDs) are used to tell your device apart from others – such as an ID stored by a cookie, or your Mobile Ad ID (a unique code set by your mobile operating system). You can opt-out from these IDs being used for ad personalisation by following the instructions below.

Broadly speaking, our advertising is managed in two ways:

1. In-house with the help of contracted data processors

Our premium advertising is managed in-house (or via Immediate Media in the UK) using a platform provided by Permutive, a specialist privacy-centric advertising platform.  The platform is driven by our own “first party” data that we have collected from you or your device.  This data includes data based on what you consume when using our services (e.g. articles read, adverts clicked on), technographic information (e.g. browser, device and Internet Service Provider) and your location (at a country level).  We then use this data to put you into cohorts with other users with shared interests (e.g. “travel” or “autos”). These cohorts are then used to select relevant Ads to show to you.

We sometimes work directly with our advertiser clients to enable them to use their own customer data to personalise their Ads.  We also work with specialists to make sure real people (not bots) are seeing Ads, and to make sure our website is safe.

We do not share your “cohorts” with advertisers or anyone else (except our contracted suppliers who process data under our and/or Immediate Media’s instruction).

2.  Automated advertising trading and personalisation

We and our advertisers also work with a range of advertising and data companies (“Advertising Vendors”) to show you Ads, both personalised and non-personalised. This includes specialist platforms and networks to: sell our ad space in online auctions, select and deliver the Ads, and collate and manage the data needed to personalise Ads. Generally, these companies will be acting as separate data controllers or may be acting under the instruction of their advertiser client rather than us.  These companies are listed in our cookie management platform, along with the purposes for which they use your data, and you can view these by clicking on Cookie Settings in the footer.

Advertising Vendors will use data shared by your device alongside profile data inferred from your internet browsing and marketing information that they may hold about you.


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. You can manage your preferences for these third party cookies via the Cookie Settings link in the footer of this website.

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).











Strictly Necessary

Akamai is a service provider we use to ensure smooth and fast delivery of our sites and services to users.


Akamai is necessary for us to ensure the site runs properly and so we do


Strictly Necessary

OneTrust manages cookie preferences for our users, and records their settings and preferences.

12 months 

OneTrust cookies are necessary for us to ensure the site runs properly and so cannot be opted out.


Social Media

Provide social sharing functionality. Facebook may track your interaction when you choose to share content using social sharing functionality.


Opt out in your Instagram settings or follow the instructions on the Your Online Choices site.

Google 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.

24 months 

Install the browser plugin here to opt out



We use Optimizely cookies to test and analyse how audiences interact with our websites. We do this to make informed decisions about how to provide a better experience for visitors to our websites.

6 months 

Click here to opt-out from Optimizely analytics (on only)

Salesforce ExactTarget


ExactTarget (Salesforce) is our newsletter provider. We use a cookie to tell whether you have signed up to a newsletter from our website.


Salesforce is our data processor.

Google DoubleClick


We use Google DoubleClick to serve and to measure the effectiveness of our online marketing campaigns.

We also use this cookie to derive demographics and interests data for analytics purposes.


Manage your Google Ad Settings on this page

(Audience Project)


This company provides survey tools that allow us to ask our users questions. The cookie records the surveys they’ve taken.


Click here to find out more and to opt out.



Outbrain serves content recommendations and advertising on some of our pages. These are personalised to your interests based on your browsing of this site and the wider internet as well as marketing data from advertisers.


Follow the instructions on this page



This is an advertising data management platform that used to understand more about our users and to serve them targeted advertising. They act on our instruction as a processor and use a first party cookie.

36 Months

Opt-out by changing your cookie preferences here.




An analytics provider we use to measure the effectiveness and reach of our content and advertising.   


Click here (this link will opt you out straight away)



An analytics provider that we use to find out more about our audience.


Click here to find out more and to opt out.

Piano AT Internet (ATI)


First party analytics to measure how our services are used to enable us to improve and personalise our services 


24 months 

serviceProvider acts as our service provider only and do not use your data for their own purpose.


Social Media

Provide social sharing functionality. Facebook may track your interaction when you choose to share content using social sharing functionality.


Opt out in your Facebook settings or follow the instructions on the Your Online Choices site.


Social Media

Provide video functionality.


Opt out in your Google settings or find out more here.



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.


If you have any questions or concerns about BBC Studios’ use of cookies please email us at:

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