Types of BBC Broadcast Events that may Charge for Tickets
The BBC may charge for tickets to BBC concerts, concert series or other BBC events held at outside venues. The BBC should not charge for admission to regular recordings of other programmes.
We should only charge entry for events held at an outside venue, not events held in BBC studios. However, we may charge for tickets to events held in a bespoke BBC concert hall with approval from Chief Adviser Editorial Policy. We may also charge for tickets to BBC concerts held in the regular venues of the BBC performing groups. Some bespoke BBC concert halls, such as the BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, are used both for orchestral concerts and also to record regular BBC programmes. It is not appropriate to charge for tickets for the regular programme recordings, only for concerts.
In other, very exceptional, circumstances if there is any proposal to sell tickets to any other BBC event on BBC premises, such as an event to raise money for a BBC charitable initiative, the proposal must be approved in advance by the Chief Adviser, Editorial Policy.
Proposals to ticket a BBC event which is part of a third party event that will require the public to pay an entry fee, should be referred to Editorial Policy.
Very occasionally an outside organisation, for example a gardening club, may invite the BBC to hold an outside broadcast programme at their premises. In these cases, with the specific advance approval of Editorial Policy, it may sometimes be acceptable for the location to charge a modest fee to the audience that they invite, in order to cover their costs. The amount charged must be agreed with the BBC beforehand to ensure the fee is fair and is not set at a rate that is designed to make a profit.
Sometimes a programme which is regularly recorded in a BBC studio puts on a one-off event at an outside location. For example a radio comedy sometimes appears at the Edinburgh Festival. In such cases it may be appropriate to charge for tickets to the special outside broadcast show.
Proceeds from Ticket Sales and Cost of Tickets
Proceeds from ticket sales may only be used to pay for events or for a series of events costs and should not be designed to generate further income, unless the sales raise money for a BBC charitable initiative, such as Children in Need or Comic Relief and this has been approved by Editorial Policy and the relevant charity. The money from ticket sales must not be used for production costs.
If you need advice on setting the prices of tickets to BBC events, please contact the Fair Trading department.
While ticket revenue may be used for event costs, the BBC must pay for all broadcast costs.
Event costs will include elements such as security at the event, seating, ticketing, the hire of the venue, hospitality, transport, toilet facilities, audience information services, refreshments, additional staging required because the public is attending, including screens at the venue for the event audience. It is essential that event costs only include costs which would be incurred even if the event were not broadcast.
Broadcast costs are any costs required for the radio or television broadcast coverage and transmission of the event and may include for example cameras/mikes, rigging, transmission equipment, ISDN lines, programme presenters and reporters, programme lighting required for broadcasting the event, production staff, the production on site offices, scanners, graphics, VT or audio packages to be played in during the event and shown on air.
Ticketing for Public Displays of BBC Programmes
Occasionally there are requests from festivals, such as film festivals, to display a recorded programme, either prior to transmission or post- transmission. Approvals for this should come from the relevant Head of MCA.
It is not normally appropriate for a separate charge to be made to see the BBC material. However it may be acceptable for there to be an over-all entry charge to the whole event, if it includes a substantial amount of non-BBC content.
For BBC Programmes in BBC Studios or Other Studios
BBC Audience Services has a set of guidelines for free ticketing for BBC programmes, made inhouse or by Independents and recorded or transmitted live from BBC studios or other studios. All ticketing companies used by the BBC or Independents for BBC programmes in BBC studios must meet the guidelines set out in this Code of Conduct. These minimum standards have been established to ensure:
No audience members are charged for attending BBC recordings of regular programmes.
Audience members are treated fairly and not discriminated against.
Any "over issues" policy is sensible and clearly stated to audiences. The supplier must only issue the minimum number of additional free tickets than there are seats available to ensure a full studio.
All information about audience members is managed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
The Code of Conduct can be accessed via the internal BBC Procurement site.
The site lists suppliers who have agreed to the terms in the Code of Conduct. The list includes BBC Audience Services who supply audiences for many TV and radio programmes and some BBC events with free tickets. They advertise the availability of tickets on the BBC Tickets site.
Should a production wish to use a supplier who has not yet signed the Code of Conduct, they should check on the Procurement site (link above) for the link to the Code of Conduct and BBC standard terms of trade that the company is required to sign. They should also establish that the company is reputable - no external organisation that the BBC becomes involved with should bring the BBC into disrepute. It is advisable to check that that there is no controversy associated with the company and that they are reliable in sending out tickets.
For BBC Broadcast Events
Ticketing for BBC broadcast events held at an outside venue may be handled by the BBC, by the external venue or by a ticketing company which has been contracted by the BBC or by the external venue, such as the box office at a concert hall.
Online Linking to Ticketing Sites
For a BBC event a direct link to the ticketing site is likely to be editorially justifiable. It should be clear that the public is leaving the BBC site to get to the source of the tickets.
It is important that the primary purpose of the site that is linked to is the selling of public tickets. It would not be appropriate, for example, to link to a site whose primary purpose was to sell corporate hospitality to a BBC event.
However it may be acceptable to link to a site selling public tickets for a BBC event as its primary purpose, which also sells added extras to the event (such as corporate hospitality), if there is appropriate separation between the main function and the subsidiary ones.
On all external ticketing sites there should also be adequate separation between the use of BBC brands and third party brands. If in doubt, contact the Fair Trading department for further advice.
The Guidance Note on Links and Feeds gives advice on linking for non-BBC events.
Third party ticketing sites providing tickets for BBC events should not normally be referred to in on air trails. Usually an acceptable route is to point to the programme or channel website and link to external sites from there (for example to a ticketing site or an event/festival site).
When a BBC programme or BBC event, such as Sports Personality of the Year, is ticketed, availability of the tickets may be trailed on air. Care should be taken if availability of tickets for events organised by third parties are mentioned.
It is not usually appropriate to trail tickets on air or online for third party events. In some very exceptional cases it may be acceptable, for example where a BBC orchestra is performing at an event. Advice should be sought from Editorial Policy.
Separate Accounting for Ticket Sales
All ticketing arrangements must stand up to scrutiny and be clearly auditable.
It is very important to ensure that event costs are calculated separately from the broadcast costs.
Clearly separated accounts must be drawn up which clearly delineate event costs and broadcast costs. Separate records must be kept of all ticket revenue going to the BBC or going via the BBC.
The accounts must demonstrate that any ticketing money raised has only gone into the event and not into any aspect of the programme covering it.