Avanti Media and Nine Lives Media win competitive tender for Songs of Praise

The BBC today announced the result of the second title put out to competitive tender, as part of the new Charter agreement in which the Government has asked the BBC to put all existing BBC Studios network television output out to competition over the next 11 years.

BBC One’s much loved long running religious programme Songs of Praise will be a co-production from Avanti Media and Nine Lives Media for the next 3 years.

The BBC invited pitches from all producers to consider the editorial vision and ambition for the series going forward. The tendering process also tested value for money and the ability to deliver the best quality programme for viewers at the best price. A BBC evaluation team made the decision based on criteria openly shared with all suppliers who were eligible to tender.

Dan McGolpin, Controller of Programming and Daytime, who led the evaluation team says :

“Songs of Praise is absolutely core to our religious programming and following a competitive tendering process, we have agreed a three year contract for the series to be produced by Avanti and Nine Lives. Their joint pitch built on the existing strengths of the series and they were successful against published criteria, including editorial innovation and value for money.  They bring years of experience in producing religious and non-religious music programmes; and they will retain the essential elements of the show that viewers value so highly. We would like to thank BBC Studios for all of the hard work and dedication that has gone into making Songs of Praise.”

Fatima Salaria, Commissioning Editor, Religion and Ethics says :

“Songs of Praise remains our flagship religious programme right at the heart of our religion offer.  This decision secures its future for the next three years and reflects both a commitment to the ongoing success of this much-loved series and to religious coverage more broadly.”

The tendering of returning series currently produced by BBC Studios,  forms part of the ‘Compete or Compare’ strategy launched by BBC Director-General Tony Hall in 2014, which underlined the BBC’s commitment to commission the best programmes for audiences, regardless of who makes them.

The BBC removed the in house guarantee last September following a joint agreement between the BBC and PACT to strengthen the UK production sector, in which the BBC agreed to release 40% of the existing in-house guarantee to competition over the next two years. This paved the way for the creation of BBC Studios, as a wholly owned-subsidiary of the BBC, able to compete in the market and make programmes for other broadcasters as well as the BBC from April 2017. The Government’s Charter went further and asked the BBC to reach 100% competition by 2028 – except in news and news-related current affairs.

BBC public service will retain all Intellectual Property rights for the tendered programmes, which will all continue to be shown on BBC television, but the tendering process decides which supplier makes them.

BBC Studios won the first tender for A Question of Sport.

The other titles that have been opened up to competitive tendering so far are Holby City andsuppliers have also been invited to pitch ideas for Horizon – with bundles of commissions based on the strength of their proposals. Decisions will be announced over the next couple of months.

Further titles will be announced for future tenders during 2017. The titles being tendered will provide a variety of opportunities for a range of suppliers across the BBC’s Drama, Entertainment, Comedy and Factual slates.