The Newsroom

Met Office loses BBC forecasting contract

(August 2015)

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DV
DVB Cornwall
The Met Office has lost its lucrative weather forecasting contract with the BBC after nearly a century of providing the service.

Negotiations to renew the deal hit a dead end and a new firm is expected to take over next year.

The BBC said it was legally required to open up the contract to outside competition and secure the best value for money for licence fee payers.

Dutch and New Zealand firms are said to be in the running for the contract, which is believed to make up a sizeable share of the £32.5 million a year the Met Office receives from commercial organisations, according to the Mail on Sunday.


more details ……..

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22-Aug-2015 @ 23:04
IT
itsrobert Founding member
Good grief, I didn't see that one coming. What on earth will this mean for weather forecasts on the BBC? Despite differing opinions on the quality of BBC News output these days, I think it's always been safe to say that the quality of BBC Weather forecasts is the best available in the UK bar none. ITV, Channel 4, Five and Sky News really only pay lip service to the notion of weather forecasts - most of them are so brief and short-term to be of much practical use. I just can't imagine the BBC Weather forecasts without the Met Office.

I guess the big question from a presentation point of view is what will happen to some of the excellent weather presenters? Are they contracted to the BBC or the Met Office? And what about graphics? Although the BBC's current weather graphics have received mixed reviews, I think they're the best on offer on British TV. I dread to think what will happen!
RK
Rkolsen
Surely the new contractor will be getting their raw data (radar and surface conditions) from the Met Office right? The new contractor would likely then follow the Met Office forecast or tweak it.

I'm curious why didn't the BBC have their own forecasters making their own forecast using Met Office data - surely that would be cheaper than contracting it out? Kind of like what meteorologists here in the US do.

Are the other channels weather coverage produced by the met office or do they do their own?
Last edited by Rkolsen on 23 August 2015 12:31am - 3 times in total
MI
Mike516
Good grief, I didn't see that one coming. What on earth will this mean for weather forecasts on the BBC? Despite differing opinions on the quality of BBC News output these days, I think it's always been safe to say that the quality of BBC Weather forecasts is the best available in the UK bar none. ITV, Channel 4, Five and Sky News really only pay lip service to the notion of weather forecasts - most of them are so brief and short-term to be of much practical use. I just can't imagine the BBC Weather forecasts without the Met Office.

I guess the big question from a presentation point of view is what will happen to some of the excellent weather presenters? Are they contracted to the BBC or the Met Office? And what about graphics? Although the BBC's current weather graphics have received mixed reviews, I think they're the best on offer on British TV. I dread to think what will happen!

The New Zealand company mentioned is Metra, they provide the current BBC Weather graphics
http://www.metraweather.com/media/weather-presentation-and-communication-solutions-for-media

The article quoted above refers to the Mail on Sunday. The newspaper says the other contender is a company called "Meteo, a collaboration between the Press Association, based in the UK, and the Dutch national weather service."

This appears to be a mythical company - I find no record of such a current collaboration.

It appears the Mail is talking about MeteoGroup, the weather company sold by the Press Association at the end of 2013. A Sky News report from 2013 refers to MeteoGroup as "Meteo". It is headquarted in the UK, but was founded by a Dutch person. It already supplies the weather for Channel 4. So not as foreign as the Mail would like to make out...
Last edited by Mike516 on 23 August 2015 1:31am
JV
James Vertigan Founding member
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34031785

Does this mean we'll see new weather forecasters? Are the current team employed by the BBC or the Met Office?
MR
mromega
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34031785

Does this mean we'll see new weather forecasters? Are the current team employed by the BBC or the Met Office?


Would expect to be a mix of both old and new going forward.

The current forecast team will look to be transferred to the new operator, however some may not agree transfer terms so they may have to bring new staff in.
FL
flaziola
Doesn't BBC World News use some other company for their forecasts?
SP
Steve in Pudsey
I suspect it will depend on the split between qualified met office forecasters and presenters with met training.

The former can probably be redeployed within the met office more easily, the latter may well be TUPEd over to the new provider.
DE
deejay
Afaik, the only bit of the BBC to not use the met office presenters was BBC radio 5 live, who used John Kettley after he left the met office. Presumably he was using met office data but interpreting it himself. Not sure this is still the case though.
HO
House
Does anyone know how many on-air forecasters are employed directly by the BBC and which by the Met Office? I'm sure at least a few are employed directly - Tomasz Schafernaker was meant to have returned at the BBC's doing as the Met didn't want him back IIRC. I wouldn't be surprised if Simon King was with the BBC either, as he's the only national forecaster to transfer to Salford.

However I would imagine the vast, vast majority are currently with the Met because I'm struggling to think of a single national forecaster still on air when Met Office staff went on strike a few years ago. While I'd imagine the BBC at least would be keen to keep all or as many of them as possible under the new company's contract, part of the cost effectiveness of the next contract may lie in part by a reduced team, or lower paid presenters, so it'll be interesting to see what happens there. Although at least half of them aren't qualified meteorologists, I'm always much more impressed by the knowledge and competence of the Beeb's forecasters compared with other channels'.

I'd be stunned if Carol Kirkwood, assuming she's currently employed by the Met, isn't offered a new BBC contract almost immediately to safeguard her on Breakfast - in terms of familiarity, Carol must be one of the highest profile/ most important presenters these days?
DE
deejay
I am quite amazed by this. The BBC has been going through a number of these competitive tender processes recently, which are required under EU law. You can't just keep with your current supplier any more, it has to be an open process, with all the costs and time and energy involved. In the end, you might save a few quid a year for a new contractor but you have to migrate from one system to another, provide staff training and so on and work out how your archive in the old system will continue to be provided and supported. It's all part of the outsourcing and contracting world and is a far cry from the days where the BBC just did everything in house, which on paper can look exceedingly expensive, but is often cost effective. A similar competitive tender process means BBC News is no longer going to use ENPS in producing its news output. They've plumped for a system called Open Media by Annova, which will apparently offer better sharing and searching across platforms. ENPS has been in use in the BBC since 1997, and while clunky and tricky to fully grasp, has a huge archive and is in use across the global BBC News department. It's going to be a really long and complex process to replace it!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ariel/31603961
HO
House
Afaik, the only bit of the BBC to not use the met office presenters was BBC radio 5 live, who used John Kettley after he left the met office. Presumably he was using met office data but interpreting it himself. Not sure this is still the case though.


I don't think many regions use Met Office presenters do they?

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