Publicity materials are part of the required deliverables for a programme and are listed on the Commissioning specification and the delivery timeline. BBC Publicity will inform productions if additional publicity materials are required.
Note: Some of the following information does not apply to BBC Three short-form delivery, please see the separate short-form on BBC Three page for further information.
All productions must deliver the following:
Additional requirements typically include:
- Production notes or a press kit comprising:
- full cast list
- full crew list
- short synopsis (two to three paragraphs)
- long synopsis (two to three pages)
- location/interview production notes
- biographies of principal cast and key crew
- Key publicity contact address list
Additional requirements may also include:
- Master split track soundtrack on CD WAV
Additional requirements for Network drama may also include:
- One post production script if available (see Production script section for more info)
Additional requirement for programme acquisitions may also include:
- One translation script
Please note: some of this additional information will already be captured on the programme billings form.
Programme stills must be delivered no later than 10 working days prior to the programme delivery date. If the nature of the programme means this is unrealistic please agree an alternative with the BBC.
Programme stills are used to publicise the programme in print, online, on air and across the BBC’s services. They are the shop window for programmes so it is essential that the quality of the stills matches the quality of the programme.
For any queries about the delivery requirements please contact the following teams before filming:
- For network productions: BBC Picture Desk
- For Nations and Regions productions: the press office of the Nation or Region concerned. Visit the BBC Media Centre website for a list of press contacts in the Nations and Regions.
Visit the Editorial guidelines website for further guidance about using stills, photographs and images. Please note specific guidance applies to using stills of children.
What must be delivered
- 20 images that represent the whole series.
- 20 further images for each episode.
- Publicity stills caption list
It may be that the BBC only requires five series and five episode specific images. Any extras may be of use for BBC online so please don’t discard them.
Please contact BBC Picture Desk for confirmation on the number of images that should be provided and for any further queries.
Children’s productions should contact BBC Picture desk in the first instance. Programmes being made for broadcast in the Nations and the Regions should contact the press office of the Nation or Region concerned. Visit the BBC Media Centre website for a list of press contacts in the Nations and Regions.
If talent has been given picture approval then all images must be artist approved before delivery to BBC Pictures. Please ensure all images have been approved by the relevant head of department or commissioning contact before final delivery to BBC Pictures.
See the Programme website page for information about how stills are used online.
Download the Publicity stills caption list from the delivery timeline
How to deliver
To ensure the security of image storage and delivery please use the website www.box.com to share images with BBC Pictures once they have been approved by the head of department or commissioning contact.
Once the images have been approved please place them in one Box folder labelled with the name of the production. If the programme has been assigned a BBC pictures executive or iPix exec they will then share the folder.
Box.com is the only online delivery system that BBC Pictures can accept. Alternatively, delivery can be via email or post. Please contact BBC Picture Desk or the press office of the Nation or Region concerned for details of postal and email delivery.
BBC Pictures expects you to hire a professional photographer to take your stills.
Download the BBC Pictures guide to publicity still (PDF) for detailed editorial information about picture quality including hints and tips.
BBC Pictures needs crisp, sharp, well exposed images taken on the finest camera setting. Please do not send pictures taken on a phone or a tablet as they are not good enough quality. The minimum image size is 4000 x 3000 pixels and files should be delivered as high quality JPGs. This size will work for everything from front covers to posters and pick of the days. (Tiny file sizes will not reproduce well in print.) Screen grabs are not acceptable unless agreed beforehand and only in exceptional circumstances.
Editorial guidelines and compliance
All images supplied to the BBC must be factually representative of the editorial content of the programme they have been taken for. They must also abide by the BBC Editorial policy guidelines including specific guidelines around depicting children. No images can be released to publicise the programme without written consent from the BBC executive.
Further information is available on the BBC Editorial guidance website.
Productions must deliver at least:
- One extract clip per episode
- One further series clip
- One short-form compliance form per clip (see the Compliance section to download)
- One holding image (JPG) for each clip delivered
This is the minimum requirement and more content can be delivered if desired. These clips will appear in perpetuity on the programme website, or if rights don’t allow for this they can be removed at a specified date. See the Programme website section for more information about how these clips are used online and for BBC Three short-form clip requirements.
In some cases a production will be exempt from clip delivery requirements in which case the production will be informed. Marketing trails may also be published online. Timing for this depends on when the programmes promotional activity begins.
Technical specification for clips
- mp4 or mov
- Bit rate / Quality: 30Mbps CBR minimum
- Codec: H.264
- Frame size: 1920x1080 (square pixels)
- Scan type: 50i (as broadcast standard)
- Codec: AAC
- Channels: Stereo
- Bit rate: 320 kbps
- Sample rate: 48 KHz
- Sample depth: 24 bit
If a clip is not being delivered to HD specifications please contact the Indie Programme Pages team to discuss the clip delivery format.
Please see the BBC Three short-form and programme websites page for more information about how clips are used online.
Please provide a JPG image that can be used as the holding image. This should be a professional quality photograph, representative of the content of the clip, or a high quality screengrab taken from the clip.
The clip holding images should be different to the BBC iPlayer ‘iconic’ image.
Clips and the short-form compliance forms should be delivered at the same time as programme delivery to email@example.com.
English regions programmes should deliver programme clips to the BBC editorial representative.
See the contacts page for details of editorial representatives in the English regions.
For late delivering programmes, clips should be delivered as close as possible to 21 days prior to transmission. This will ensure content can be published seven days before broadcast.
A short-form compliance form is required for all clips. See the short-form compliance section for full information.
Clips should be approximately one - two minutes in length and:
- Do not need to be pre-watershed.
- Do not need a clock at the front.
- Do not need black at the front or end.
- Do not include opening or credit sequences, branding or channel Digital On-screen Graphics (DOGs) or endboards, as these will be added after delivery.
- Care should be taken to edit clean and tidy in-and-out points to the video and audio on the clip.
Clips on YouTube and third party sites
Clips will be playable on Facebook and other third party sites if they are set to allow embedding. They should therefore be suitable for both programme websites and the BBC YouTube channel. A separate clip should not be created specifically for YouTube.
Only selected clips will be published on the YouTube channel based on the channel priorities and the formats and genres that work well.
Narrative previews/teasers, funniest or watercooler moments and short form story clips work best on YouTube.
Any clips published outside of the official BBC channels will be removed.
Clips should standalone, both as a preview of a programme but also a ‘best bit’. They should be representative of the programme and tell a story in their own right. They should be short, attention grabbing from the start and maintain interest throughout. The first ten to fifteen seconds of the clips is crucial.
The following clip types are recommended:
Teasers/narrative preview clips work well for each episode across a series. Where possible they should play into the continuing storyline or in the event of a standalone episode the clips should be of the funniest or most dramatic moment. These work well for drama and comedy programmes.
Funniest moment/‘water cooler’ clips work well as standalone clips both as a preview of an episode but also as a ‘best bit’ after the programme transmits as audiences continue to search for and discover the programme. These work well for comedy and entertainment programmes.
Short form story clips will most frequently come from factual programmes. They should tell a story or explain an individual segment from the programme. They should entice audiences to watch the programme (either before transmission or during the catch-up window) and also work as a standalone piece after the programme broadcasts.
Clips of behind the scenes and additional scenes/footage work well on programme websites across all genres.
For commissions contracted after Nov 15 2016 productions will be required to complete production reporting via the online system Silvermouse. Those commissioned before this point should contact the relevant delivery area to discuss delivery methods.
The Billing form provides information for the following:
- Final transmission schedules
- Text for listings magazines including Radio Times
- Text for digital programme guides and the BBC's programme websites.
The billings due date is normally 16 days before the beginning of the transmission week. (This is subject to change by BDS, particularly at holiday periods.) Where the final schedule slot has yet to be confirmed productions can submit billings forms without the transmission time completed. Download a BBC programme week calendar (PDF).
All wording should be pre-approved by the BBC commissioning editor in advance of delivery.
Independent production companies (including Children’s) currently using P4A should contact the relevant delivery area as the BBC will not be using this system from March 2017.
New users to Silvermouse can obtain a login by following the link www.silvermouse.com then clicking ‘New User’. Existing Silvermouse users (including for other broadcasters) can use the same login details and do not need to request a new login.
For technical support queries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For BBC non-technical support system queries please contact email@example.com
The BBC Academy has produced a number of user guides for Silvermouse. Download them from the Academy website.
Details of billings due dates are available on the BDS website.
For commissions after November 15 2016 submit via Silvermouse
If the programme is to be promoted through Television trails then additional materials may be requested by BBC Marketing ahead of programme transmission. The BBC will inform the production in advance if specific materials are needed for the production of a trail. The content requested may vary depending on the nature of the programme and when it is due to deliver.
Marketing requirements may include (but are not limited to):
- Offline rushes and rough cuts of episodes for viewing purposes
- Broadcast quality graded rushes: source of 'clean' sound and uncaptioned pictures (four – six weeks ahead of programme transmission)
- Access to set and talent/artists for filming during production
- A version of the complete programme (often before its sound dub)
It is the production's responsibility to then provide the agreed additional materials for trails.
One copy of the full programme on digital video file (MPEG4) should be uploaded directly to the BBC Previews website to an FTP account using software such as Filezilla or similar:
- File type: MP4
- Compression/Codec: H.264
- Data Rate: Minimum 750kbps - Maximum 1 Mbps.
- Sound: MPEG-4 AAC, Stereo, Auto, maximum 160kbps (or other compatible MPEG-4 audio)
- Frame Size: Must be 16/9 – 640 x 360
- Enable ‘Fast streaming’/’fast start’/’quick streaming’
For more information, login details and for any queries regarding delivery please email the BBC Previews team.
Production scripts are useful for subtitling purposes and when available should be emailed to the BBC Access Services team on the tape delivery date, or in advance of this date if possible.
Please inform the Access Services team if a script will be available, even if it is not available immediately. Other information such as running orders may also be useful, please contact the team for further advice.
The package Scriptwriter 3, which produces camera scripts and subtitling exports, is available for independent production companies supplying the BBC. Please email Scriptwriter3Requests@bbc.co.uk for further information and terms and conditions.
Find out more about disability related assistance, advice and support including subtitling services on the Disability section of the BBC Diversity website.
Contact the BBC Press Office:
(020 7) 765 5900
Or via the online form on the BBC Media Centre website.
Find the publicity requirements for BBC Three short-form content on the BBC Three short-form delivery page.
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