BBC Publicity update editorial approval process and requirements

This is a copy of an article first published on 6 September 2012.

The BBC is trialling changes to the Editorial Approval Process for Publicity Pictures and has updated its requirements and process for stills delivery. For the most part, publicity stills for Indie productions will continue to be managed by BBC Pictures and distributed to the media via  In some cases, Indies may have extra pictures they wish to release; in a minority of cases, BBC Pictures will not be able to accept any stills (although iPlayer and will still need them). In those cases, Indies will be allowed to send publicity stills to the media directly – but only under certain circumstances. Please note: If this results in the release of any images that do not comply with the BBC’s editorial guidelines for publicity pictures, the trial will be ended. 

The new process

Until now, you have only been permitted to release publicity photos to the media if you have the written approval of both the BBC Executive Producer and BBC Pictures. From Sept 10th 2012 the BBC is trialling a new procedure for publicity stills. This will enable you to distribute your own pictures -  but only if:

  • You send the BBC Executive Producer a PDF of the images you wish to release directly to the press with full caption information. 
  • The BBC Executive Producer confirms by email that they are happy for these stills to be released and that the images and captions are a factually accurate representation of the programme. All of these emails must be kept for auditing purposes.
  • Indie PRs and picture publicists employed by independent production companies complete the ‘Editorial Essentials” course regularly run by the Head of Editorial Standards & Compliance for Marketing & Audiences/Communication, Chris Parker. 

If there is a BBC publicist supporting your production please make sure the pictures you wish to release do not conflict with any planned exclusives or embargoes.

Executive Producers of Independent Production Companies are responsible for the compliance of any images sent out for their productions. Please do take the time to read the guidelines on picture compliance because compliance for publicity pictures is different to programme compliance.

Useful links:

Please do share this information with anyone involved in the creation and compliance of publicity stills in your company. 


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