The BBC has named its first inhouse series that will be put out to competitive tender to indies.

The first titles that will be opened up to competitive tendering are A Question of Sport, Songs of Praise and Holby City.

The move comes as the BBC opens up more network commissions under its ‘Compete or Compare’ strategy.

The BBC will remove the in-house guarantee this month and begin the competitive tendering of returning series that are currently made by BBC Studios, inviting pitches from BBC Studios and independent producers.

The BBC will retain all Intellectual Property rights for the programmes put to tender, which will all continue to be shown on BBC television, but the tendering process will decide which supplier makes those series.

The move is the latest stage of the ‘Compete or Compare’ strategy launched by BBC Director-General Tony Hall in 2014.

It follows a joint agreement between the BBC and PACT late last year, in which the BBC agreed to release 40% of the existing in-house guarantee in BBC Studios genres to competition over the next two years, paving the way for the creation of BBC Studios.

The Government’s draft Charter has subsequently set a further obligation that the BBC reach 100% competition – except in news and news-related current affairs – by the end of the next Charter period.

The BBC said programmes will be put out to tender in batches, to highlight the range of opportunities coming up and allow the market time to prepare pitches, but each programme will be individually tendered, with their own specific eligibility criteria and requirements.

The titles being tendered will provide opportunities for a range of suppliers across the BBC’s Drama, Entertainment, Comedy and Factual slates.

Suppliers will also be invited to pitch ideas for Horizon.

Bal Samra, Managing Director, BBC Television and Commercial Director, said: “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. These are BBC shows that will still be on BBC Channels and we will still own the rights. 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.”

Further titles will be announced for future tenders during 2017.
The BBC will set out more detail of its plans at a briefing for the industry on September 21.

Staff Reporter

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