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The Met Office wins the BBC Weather contract

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Mark Byford Mark Byford | 10:59 UK time, Tuesday, 6 July 2010

People playing in heavy snow in the parkToday's announcement concludes a rigorous and competitive tender process begun in Autumn 2009 which sees the Met Office continuing to supply the BBC with its weather services for the next five years.

Weather is a key part of the BBC's news and information services and a much loved talking point for everyone across the UK. The public turns to us in huge numbers for regular weather updates, or for accurate information and forecasts when big weather stories happen - such as the recent heavy snow or floods.

The BBC, as a public service broadcaster, is committed to offering audiences the highest quality for the best value for money and we're confident this new contract does that. The Met Office has demonstrated its ability and commitment to deliver a high quality service through accuracy, consistency of data and flexibility. Overall the new contract delivers better value for money.

The BBC has been working in partnership with the Met Office for many years, a relationship that dates back to 1922 when a script prepared by the Met Office was read out by an announcer for the first time in a radio weather forecast. 

Much has been made about the decision to put the contract out to tender, with some claiming it to be because of inaccurate forecasts by the Met Office around the Barbecue Summer/mild winter. This is simply not the case.

The truth is we had recognised a significant change in the market for weather services which has become more competitive in the last few years. It is exactly because of this new context that we wanted to consider the options available to ensure we were still offering the best value for money to licence fee payers. And it made sense to do so at a time when the contract with the Met Office was about to expire.

So what does the contract mean and what are the differences you'll see going forward?

Accuracy and consistency are central to what BBC Weather does and this contract renews our commitment to produce high quality forecasts across TV, radio, online, mobile and Red Button.

The contract covers the supply of weather services, which includes weather data, on air presenters and forecast services. Our audiences won't see drastic changes in how our forecasts are being presented - the weather map will be retained and familiar faces will continue to be seen and heard regularly.

What this contract means is that the BBC will get more data for more locations and more frequently throughout the UK and around the world - which will help keep weather forecasts consistent and accurate.

It will also allow the BBC and the Met Office to organise their resources in a way which will help provide the most consistent forecasts across all our platforms.

Our responsibility is to our audiences and we will focus on our mission to make sure BBC Weather continues to deliver the authoritative, reliable, accurate and innovative forecasts on which our audiences rely.

Mark Byford is Deputy Director-General at the BBC


  • The image was taken by BBC News Photographer, Jeff Overs 


  • Comment number 1.

    Oh Christ, does that mean we are stuck with the dumbed down weather report and that trashy moving map. Met-Office, you could have got have got your local pre-school to do the forecast for all we learn from it these days.

  • Comment number 2.

    I find the rather specific web based forecast reasonably accurate. It certainly isn't static and as patterns change so does the forecast.
    Not sure how 'dumbed down' the tv forecast is - on a par with C4 or Sky, it would seem?


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