Technical requirements

From the 1 April 2017 all television network programmes must be delivered as files. This delivery requirement will be discussed as part of the usual commissioning process.

All programmes delivered to the BBC must be fully editorially and technically checked and ready for transmission prior to delivery.

Programmes commissioned to deliver ‘close to transmission’ or will deliver after the TX-12 deadline will be required to deliver via ‘lines recording’ or ‘lines to air’.  For further information please see the How to deliver live and close to transmission page to download the full technical specifications.

Independent production companies must contact their BBC delivery contact to discuss delivery. BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.

 

Contact details

  • Independent production companies must contact their relevant BBC delivery contact for all questions relating to delivery.
  • BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.
  • For all technical questions relating to file delivery, Live or Close to Transmission programmes please contact Andy Quested or Alan Sherman (visit the contacts page - 'technical delivery' section).
  • For problems with file uploads please contact Content Delivery Operations.

 

Delivery requirements

The BBC requires all network television programmes to be delivered as AS-11 DPP files unless there is a specific agreement for a programmes to be delivered on tape.

This delivery requirement will be discussed as part of the usual commissioning process.

All programmes delivered to the BBC must be fully editorially and technically checked and ready for transmission prior to delivery. This includes ensuring sound and picture quality are consistent throughout and there are no problems that will harm a viewers’ enjoyment of the programme, usually determined by the eyeball QC check. Crucially productions must ensure dialogue is clear and understandable by a first-time viewer. 

It is the responsibility of the supplier to ensure programmes meet the editorial and technical requirements of the commission. (See sections one - four of the BBC specific technical delivery standards document (PDF).)

 

The BBC Academy has produced a number of how to videos on file delivery for additional support including information about the eyeball QC check and tips on maintaining quality. The Academy has also produced help resources around loudness, best practise for clear sound and sound in drama productions (PDF).

 

Re-edits and re-versions

If a file delivered programme requires re-editing after it has been accepted by the BBC it will always be a new version and require a new version number.

To obtain a new version number independent production companies should contact their delivery coordinator at the Indie delivery Unit or the relevant Children's delivery contact who will issue a new version number. BBC Studios should speak to the relevant channel contact for re-edits and re-versions

 

Outside of normal office hours and only for programmes required for immediate transmission, please contact the Playout Editors for a new version number.

 

Close to transmission

From the 1 April 2017 all television network programmes must be delivered as files. This delivery requirement will be discussed as part of the usual commissioning process.

All programmes delivered to the BBC must be fully editorially and technically checked and ready for transmission prior to delivery.

Programmes commissioned to deliver ‘close to transmission’ or delivering after the TX-12 deadline will be required to deliver via ‘lines recording’ or ‘lines to air’. 

For further information please see the How to deliver live and close to transmission page to download the full technical specifications. 

Independent production companies must contact their BBC delivery contact to discuss delivery. BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.

 

Live

From the 1 April 2017 all television network programmes must be delivered as files. This delivery requirement will be discussed as part of the usual commissioning process.

Live programmes are subject to special requirements. For further information please see the How to deliver live and close to transmission page to download the technical specifications for the delivery of live television programmes.

Independent production companies must contact their BBC delivery contact to discuss delivery. BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.

 

Programme copy policy

The BBC Archive is required to keep all transmitted programmes for a minimum of five years for research, re-use value and for critical business reasons such as legal traceability and ensuring the correct version of a programme is transmitted. 

All independent productions (including those producing content for CBBC and CBeebies) must submit one master copy to BBC Archive and must retain an exact copy of the delivered master for their own records, this copy may need to be required/referred to in the event of an issue prior to transmission. 

Note: Where an independent production has been delivered on tape, it is acceptable to store the copy as an AS-11 file or in any File Mastering Format provided a new tape copy or an AS-11 UK DPP HD V1.1 file can be made and delivered to the BBC if required.

BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.

BBC Nations and Regions programming may be logged and stored locally but recorded in the central database. 

In addition, a clone is not required for the following output:

  • programme acquisitions output
  • recorded Sports programmes (eg highlights from earlier, live action) 

 

Transmission form

From 1 April 2017 the Transmission form is no longer required for programmes delivered by file or for live or close to transmission programmes.

 

Topicality status

The delivery date will usually be determined by the programme's topicality status which is determined by the editorial nature of its content. A 'topical' status will be awarded only to those programmes which relate directly to live or current events and therefore require some last-minute production. Topicality status classifications are used throughout BBC Television. The definitions below are additionally used to define the requirements for live and late feeds and outside broadcasts (OBs).

Any variation to the contracted delivery date must be formally agreed (by writing or email with your business affairs manager).

Topicality Status Programme Type When Required
Non-topical and Open University programmes All non-topical programmes Required by 5pm on the contracted delivery date at the latest
Week topical programmes - a programme with 'week specific' elements within its content - people of the week chat shows Required by 5pm on the contracted delivery date which is five days before transmission
Day before topical - a programme with a 'news' element within it- weekly review programmes- spin-offs linked to live shows Required by 10am on the contracted delivery date on the day before transmission
On day topical programmes - a news programme (but not other factual documentary series unless another criterion is met)- highlights programmes connected to earlier sport or other live event Required by TX-12 hours from transmission on the contracted delivery date. 
Quick turnaround/ late edit programmes Programmes which, because of essential last-minute preparation and/or location of the editing/recording facility, cannot deliver the programme to Playout, e.g.sports or events highlights edited and transmitted from OB facilities A date and time specified on commissioning documentation
Live programmes Live feeds/whole programmes played from a live source eg OB, a studio, abroad. A date and time specified on commissioning documentation
Off-site programmes Programmes which are not delivering to the London Playout area. This could include programmes transmitting from a Nation or region, an outside facilities house, another BBC building or an edit suite.  

 

  • Strands will be commissioned with their appropriate least topical status, and production departments will need to agree any necessary changes to this status for individual programmes as above. 
  • Live and quick turnaround programmes are subject to special requirements – see How to deliver live and close to transmission page for more information.

  

Programme duration

The commissioning documentation will specify a slot duration for the programme. However, the physical programme that is delivered must conform to the actual duration requirements shown below.

Slot duration: the length of the slot in which the programme transmits eg for Watchdog this will normally be 30 minutes (7.30 - 8pm).

Actual duration: the running time at which the programme should be delivered. The actual duration is less than the slot duration to allow for promotions and previews eg for Watchdog this would be one minute less than the slot duration (29 minutes).

 

Channel                                 Slot Duration Actual Duration
BBC One Peak time
BBC One Scotland
BBC One N. Ireland
BBC One Wales
 60 minutes  58 minutes
All other durations  One minute less than slot duration
 BBC One Daytime
 
 
 
 
 15 minutes  13 mins 45 secs
 30 minutes  28 mins 45 secs
 45 minutes  43 mins 45 secs
 60 minutes  58 minutes
 Other slots  To be advised
BBC Two/BBC Four
BBC Two Scotland
BBC Two N. Ireland
BBC Two Wales
 All durations  One minute less than slot duration
 BBC Three 
 
 
 
 
 15 minutes  14 minutes
 30 minutes  28 mins 30 secs
 45 minutes  43 minutes
 60 minutes  57 minutes
 Other slots  To be advised
 CBBC and CBeebies
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 5 minutes  3 - 5 minutes (to be agreed with head of scheduling)
 10 minutes  10 minutes
 15 minutes  14 minutes
 20 minutes  19 minutes
 25 minutes  24 minutes
 30 minutes  28 minutes
 45 minutes  44 minutes
 60 minutes  58 minutes

 Notes:

  • The actual durations quoted include opening and closing titles. 
  • Occasionally the actual duration of the programme may need to vary from the guidelines above. In this case the commissioning executive, or for Children’s content the Children's MediaHub, will advise the production of the actual duration to which it should be delivered. 
  • Any variation to the agreed duration must be formally agreed with the BBC commissioning editor or for Children’s content the Children's MediaHub.
  • Children’s programmes have a 15 second allowance either side of these durations.

It is essential that programmes be delivered to the correct duration to ensure that schedules work to time. Programmes with incorrect durations will be returned to production for re-editing and will require new programmes to be submitted for Technical Review at the productions expense.

 

Programme UIDs

Every BBC programme episode version has its own UID number which follows the episode throughout its life and is used for all filing, documentation, music reporting, archive and retrieval. This replaces the Prog ID/Clock number. 

The UID is made up of two parts:

  • The core number: identifies the programme down to episode level: DRA A479U 
  • The version number (suffix): identifies the version of the episode:  /01, /02 (start at /01 and run to /49) 

Together they make the UID: DRA A479U/01

UID numbers are available via the following routes: 

Note: Ericsson and BBC Archives cannot supply these numbers.

Productions must not increment version numbers. If a new version of the programme needs to be delivered, contact the UID issuer for a new version number. Read further information about the BBC clone (copy) policy.

 

For programme acquisitions only:

  • The first transfer of an acquired programme should be numbered /01 but the source will be entered as /99 
  • Any subsequent transfer will be numbered /02 etc


Reversioning old format numbers:

Programmes with old format number will keep that number. If a programme with an old format number is now reversioned then the version element will now increment to a /01 ie a reversion of a /71 version will be a /01.

The new rule is as follows:

If there is no version code below /50 for the episodeL

  • For independent productions the indie delivery team will allocate the new version with a /01 suffix.
  • BBC Studios should seek advice from the relevant delivery contact within Studios.

Example: three versions of an episode exist with the following numbers DRIA413B/71, DRIA413B/72, DRIA413B/73. If this programme is reversioned again it will be given the number DRIA413B/01.

If there is a version code below /50 for the episode then the new version will get the next highest version number.

Example: there are three versions of an episode as follows: DRIA416J/71, DRIA416J/01 and DRIA416J/02. If this programme is reversioned again it will be given the number DRIA416J/03.

 

OU tape delivery 

Please see the Open University delivery page for information about delivery and technical requirements.

 

Red button requirements

Please see the Red Button page for more information about delivery and technical requirements.