BBC appoints six regional agencies for UK-wide TV Licensing comms brief

The BBC has appointed six agencies to deliver TV Licensing comms across the UK, in a contract worth up to £2.5m, following a competitive pitch process.

Six agencies have been appointed by the BBC to handle the comms around TV licensing
Six agencies have been appointed by the BBC to handle the comms around TV licensing

The corporation appointed FleishmanHillard Fishburn to cover London and the south east and Smarts Communicate in Scotland, while MCE will look after Northern Ireland.

The other three agencies appointed were Spottydog Communications in the Midlands and East Anglia, Aberfield for Northern England and Equinox for Wales.

The BBC said it was looking for agencies that understood the issues facing TV licensing and which could demonstrate best practice in communicating with audiences efficiently and effectively in a changing media and economic landscape.

Proactive and reactive services

The six agencies will deliver a contract for services including proactive media work, in which they will provide regular story opportunities for the corporation in print, online and broadcast, as well as digital engagement services via social media.

The level of activity each month will vary but each agency will have a set list of objectives in media, social media and stakeholder relations, which needs to be achieved by the end of the quarter.

They will also provide a reactive fast-response service and stakeholder relations in the form of liaison with money advice or disability organisations.

The BBC issued a tender document in August for up to six agencies to promote and explain the licence fee - which will rise to £154 per year in April - to the public.

Contract terms

The new agencies will begin work from April and the contract terms are for three years with the possibility of up to two 12-month extensions, up to a maximum of five years in total.

PRWeek understands that the value of the contract, over five years, is between £1.75m and £2.5m, and that the higher amount is the maximum possible spend.

The BBC said the winning agencies were "judged to offer excellent value for money in delivering a strategic programme of TV Licensing communications under the direction of the BBC, via the press, stakeholders and social media at a specialist level in the nations and regions."

The corporation said the procurement was conducted in line with EU Regulations.

The last tender for PR services issued by BBC TV Licensing was in 2012, with a similar contract across six regions worth £2.7m, which is due to end this month.

Smarts Communicate and the then Fishburn Hedges were previous incumbents for Scotland and London respectively.

Sian Healey, head of policy and communications for TV Licensing at the BBC, said: "This was a hard-fought procurement and the winning bidders were chosen on the basis of value for money and excellent quality for the licence fee payer. The work of the agencies shows a positive return on investment in licence sales as a direct result of their activity. 

"The agencies play an important role in supporting TV Licensing by communicating when a licence is needed and ways to pay, including an extensive community relations campaign working with almost 500 organisations, to provide help and support to the public."

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