The BBC has announced that A Question of Sport, Songs of Praise and Holby City will be the first programmes put up for competitive tender, following the Government’s draft Charter requirements that the BBC reach 100% competition by the end of the next Charter period.
In accordance with the Charter, the corporation has agreed to remove the ‘in-house guarantee’ which the majority of its programming falls under, and open up the making of new and existing programmes to outside production companies.
A Question of Sport, Songs of Praise and Holby City will be tendered in the next few weeks.
“These programmes have been chosen because they are approaching recommissioning decisions and their production schedules allow them to be put out to tender quickly,” said a BBC spokesperson.
As part of increased competition, suppliers will also be invited to pitch ideas for popular BBC science strand Horizon – with commissions to be granted for strong proposals.
The new Charter, a statutory practice agreement between the corporation and the Government, comes into force in early 2017, and will set out how the organisation is to be run until the next renewal, in 2028.
In 2015, a joint decision between the BBC and the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) was reached, whereby the BBC agreed to release 40% of programmes earmarked for production at BBC Studios to be bid for by outside producers.
In the draft Charter, published last week, the Government confirmed that the BBC must put all of their programmes (except in news and news-related current affairs), out to the market unless the BBC Board identify exceptions on value-for-money grounds.
The government also agreed to support BBC Studios’ transition to a fully commercial operation, which will enable it to join the independent market and make programmes for anyone.
In order to foster fair competition for all providers, the BBC have agreed to implement a new commissioning framework, which will ensure that providers have equal access to audience information, and are able to do appropriate research and preparation prior to bidding. The BBC say these features will be in place by the time the new tendering process begins.
Bal Samra, BBC Commercial Director and Managing Director of BBC Television, said: “I believe the UK’s creative sector is the best in the world. It is a big, bold move, but I think what we’re doing in generating this competition – with a strong independent sector and the creation of BBC studios – could make our industry even stronger.”
“We are incredibly proud of all these titles and our decision to put them to tender in the first batch is a pragmatic one, so we can move quickly.
“We have nurtured and cherished them over many years, our audiences love them and they are precious to us, but we hope the tendering process will offer an opportunity to test value for money and ensure we are delivering the very best programmes for viewers.”
The BBC will retain all Intellectual Property rights for the programmes put to tender, which will all continue to be shown on BBC television.