The Newsroom

Met Office loses BBC forecasting contract

(August 2015)

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NG
noggin Founding member
House posted:

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

The actual forecast? The Met Office provide the forecast information currently.
GI
ginnyfan
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 ?)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkU3pvhRqFo


Think they do. I remember seeing one few years ago and wondering about it.
MA
Maaixuew
Met Office fury as BBC 'gives contract worth millions to foreigners' : Broadcaster announces plant to scrap its 93-year relationship with the weather forecaster

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3207392/Met-Office-fury-BBC-gives-contract-worth-millions-foreigners.html#ixzz3jeCFQj2p
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BR
Brekkie
They'd be the first moaning if they just paid out whatever the Met Office asked for too.

Reading the BBC article although they too are reporting the Met Office as "losing" the contact it does seem it hasn't been put out to tender yet, so surely the Met Office can still tender for it if they want to keep it. If anything it sounds like the BBC have opted not to automatically renew their deal and the Met Office have therefore bailed on the BBC, rather than fighting to keep the contract.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member
Met Office fury as BBC 'gives contract worth millions to foreigners' : Broadcaster announces plant to scrap its 93-year relationship with the weather forecaster


Exactly the sort of headline I expect to see from the Daily Mail - though I'm half expecting an opinion comment "how can we improve the accuracy of weather forecasts? Answer: look out the window. Damn the BBC for spending a fortune on the Met Office when we had windows all along." Smile
SW
Steve Williams
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.


Yes - which meant that the forecast delivered by Francis Wilson didn't come from the Met Office but by Imperial College. I don't know what happened when he was on holiday and they used one of the regular BBC forecasters. BBC North East also used someone other than the Met Office for their weather, I don't know if they still do.

Reading the BBC article although they too are reporting the Met Office as "losing" the contact it does seem it hasn't been put out to tender yet, so surely the Met Office can still tender for it if they want to keep it. If anything it sounds like the BBC have opted not to automatically renew their deal and the Met Office have therefore bailed on the BBC, rather than fighting to keep the contract.


I don't think that's the case because a few years back they reported they'd put the contract out to tender and there was a rumour the Met Office were going to lose it. I don't think they've automatically renewed the deal for many years, there's been a tender process for a while.
MI
m_in_m
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)

WeatherQuest currently provide forecasts on Thursday and Friday to Look East and I presume therefore also the radio stations in the region. This is because the region doesn't have a full time weather forecaster/presenter at te moment. Both Julie and Alex are on maternity leave and Sara Thornton has being covering three days a week - presenting in region whilst also still appearing regularly for the weather hub in London. Alina Jenkins has been covering for a few weeks. Sara describes her self on twitter as a BBC peep and has read the news for BBC London at breakfast on one occasion so is presumably nit employed by the Met Office.
PE
peterrocket Founding member
Like most public sector tender processes, it would have been done in 'rounds', where several companies replied to the expression of interest to tender and then through shortlisting and responses, the Met Office were told they hadn't made it through.

They then went public saying they had lost the contract... which is why the BBC can't say anything as the process is still ongoing. I'd expect it to be something on cost and quite a big gap which would have been unjustifiable.

What would be interesting is what contract the Met Office entered with the BBC when it came to submitting its tender. If it's anything like BBC tenders I've seen, it contains confidentiality clauses which, given how they went public already on losing it, they may have done themselves no favours.
HO
House
Although in those circumstances wouldn't there have to be a level of transparency to the competition, such as publicly issuing an invitation to bid, and at some point publishing a shortlist of approved/vetted bidders? The talk today has been of contract renewal talks breaking down, and that a subsequent tender process will be needed.

Why do I have a feeling a competition is only needed when privately-owned corporations are in contention, rather than public organisations / arms of government?

You may also remember there was talk several years ago that the BBC could change to another weather provider (names were mentioned in the press, but there was no suggestion any actual negotiations with them had taken place) but ultimately nothing changed because they agreed preferred terms with the Met Office instead. So I don't think this is a case today of the Met failing to qualify to bid or otherwise being beaten out by another firm, so much as refusing during direct talks to reduce their price in line with (apparent) market forces. The Met Office spokesperson on BH earlier certainly described the BBC contract as 'only a small part of what we do' and that the loss would have no measurable effect on MO finances or operations, reiterating several times the main effect was on the on air 'individuals' whose futures needed 'clarity'. So I'm willing to bet the MO made it clear they wouldn't go any lower and talks broke down.



As to my question about what do they actually provide, especially if forecasters are transferred to the BBC directly, how much of the data that goes into a BBC weather forecast is privately-held rather than publicly accessible?
NG
noggin Founding member
House posted:

As to my question about what do they actually provide, especially if forecasters are transferred to the BBC directly, how much of the data that goes into a BBC weather forecast is privately-held rather than publicly accessible?

Publicly accessible doesn't mean publicly broadcastable. ITV can access the BBC News website - doesn't mean they can copy it.
MO
Mouseboy33
This is an odd and confusing arrangement. Seems like the Met should be tasked with forecasting and monitoring the weather as a public service. And the BBC should be tasked with taking that data and broadcasting it. Seems odd to me that the meteorologists were not BBC employees (or some confusing arrangement where some are and some arent.) Messy.
BR
Brekkie
Not really - the Met Office's main purpose was never to provide weather forecasts for the BBC and even if the two had been historically part of the same company it's pretty much a certainty that by now the Met Office would have been demerged from it anyway.

It may be a surprising development to some but it's just business - as peterrocket said they've clearly not been competitive and hence been ruled out early, with certain sections of the media (sections which incidently don't use the Met Office for their own forecasts either!) only happy to use it as another stick to beat the BBC with.

Many organisations who had long histories with the BBC throughout the 21st century haven't thought twice about jumping ship when a better offer comes along so no reason the BBC shouldn't be able to do the same when seeking their own suppliers.

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