The Newsroom

Met Office loses BBC forecasting contract

(August 2015)

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SP
Steve in Pudsey
One of the regions uses Jim Bacon's company, not sure if that's just for stand ins.

In fact I think the regional forecasters/presenters are employed by the BBC rather than the met office nowadays.

Hopefully whoever gets the contract will sort out the mess that is the BBC Weather website, with its hourly forecast that disagrees with the map below it, and predictions that change so often you can't plan anything. (Eg look in the morning, it says dry evening. Look in the afternoon and now it's going to rain in the evening)
TVF
TV Forum Team
Posts from Met Office loses BBC forecasting contract have been merged into this topic.
HO
House
A few other questions: one, is there any reason the Met Office can't compete for the next contract? Is it forbidden from bidding as a Government service?

Also of interest: on Broadcasting House right now this is largely being described as 'the Met Office says', not 'the BBC has announced'... That seems interesting.

Also Paddy O'Connell just said that the BBC aren't 'speaking to us' about the matter, and said there had been a suggestion the forecasters form new contracts directly with the BBC.

If the new company doesn't provide the presenters or producers, nor the graphics package, what exactly will it provide?
AN
Andrew Founding member
I don't think it's ever been clear who works for the Met Office and who works for the BBC, and how it works together, or indeed how it works on ITV either.

I'd assume the biggest talents, the faces of the BBC would be BBC staff, people like Carol Kirkwood.

I'd also assumed all the core weather infrastructure was Met Office and anyone else just used that as a basis, a bit like Royal Mail and how all the other postal services still use Royal Mail 'final mile'
SP
Steve in Pudsey
House posted:
A few other questions: one, is there any reason the Met Office can't compete for the next contract? Is it forbidden from bidding as a Government service?

Also of interest: on Broadcasting House right now this is largely being described as 'the Met Office says', not 'the BBC has announced'... That seems interesting.


Sounds like the Met Office have bid, and have been told they haven't won it and have decided to announce it.

It could be that the final decision hasn't been made yet, the Met Office may have been told that they haven't made the shortlist, but the process is still continuing so the BBC can't comment at this stage.
RK
Rkolsen
House posted:


If the new company doesn't provide the presenters or producers, nor the graphics package, what exactly will it provide?


Maybe they provide tweaked forecasts themselves? But to be honest why the BBC can't hire their own meteorologists to do their own forecasting off of the Met Office models?

In the US meteorologists at a station level have completed their meteorology degree and have an AMS or CBM seal or both saying they have all the training necessary. Local stations subscribe to graphics systems such as WSI which takes a ton of raw data (from NOAA/NWS for free aside from a connection fee) every second for processing and modeling forecasts. Sometimes these forecasts are spot on with the NWS. But other times the local meteorologist who knows the intricacies of the regions weather may have some variations.
Last edited by Rkolsen on 23 August 2015 9:59am
CH
chris
I could be wrong but doesn't employment law state you have to be taken on by the new contractor if a certain percentage of your work is taken up by that contract? So with BBC weather presenters working 100% on the BBC contract, won't they just be transferred from the Met Office to the new contractor?
NE
News96
The answer to that question might well be yes according to this

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-08-23/bbc-weather-to-ditch-the-met-office-after-93-years-service
SN
The SNT Three
I'd assume the biggest talents, the faces of the BBC would be BBC staff, people like Carol Kirkwood.


According to Wiki she's a met office employee, which surprised me actually as I don't believe she is an actual meteorologist - more a presenter with training in weather...
MA
Markymark
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.


It was the same situation when Francis Wilson presented BBC Breakfast's weather, in fact it initially caused a kurfuffle with the Met Office, that the Beeb should use a 'mere mortal' to present the weather.

Ironically his place at Thames was filled by Jack Scott !
MA
Maarten1
Interesting. In my country, The Netherlands, the Dutch equivalent of the MetOffice (KNMI, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) provided the weather forecast until the late 1990s, when the contract was granted to a private company. It was mainly due to the belief that the government shouldn't be allowed to provide commercial services.

The weather presenters are part of the public news broadcaster NOS. Funny side note, two of them (Marco Verhoef and Gerrit Hiemstra) have their own weather companies in their "spare time" and both had a contract for some years. This didn't affect the weather presenters, since they are on the payroll of the NOS. It did affect the graphics by the way, all systems were changed overnight when the contract changed.
MA
Markymark
UK Met Office used to be part of the MOD. Same in other countries. Italy's RAI still had uniformed air force officers presenting the weather less than 10 years ago,
(perhaps they still do ?)

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