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Sunday, 23 August 2015

BBC Abandons Met Office for Cheaper Foreign Alternative

The Met Office is to cease providing weather forecasts to the BBC, ending a relationship spanning almost a century.

Negotiations between the two parties drew a blank when they failed to agree on a new deal. According to the BBC it is legally obliged to open the contract to outside competition, thus guaranteeing the best possible value for money for TV licence fee payers.

New Zealand's state-owned MetService is poised to take over the role, which is thought to represent a sizeable chunk of the £32.5m a year the Met Office receives from commercial organisations.

Rumours about the move first surfaced on Friday when former Labour Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw MP, tweeted: "Extremely alarmed by rumours BBC to drop UK Met Office in favour of foreign weather forecaster. Vital 90 year old strategic relationship."

Steve Noyes, the Met Office's Operations and Customer Services Director, said: "Nobody knows Britain's weather better and, during our long relationship with the BBC, we've revolutionised weather communication to make it an integral part of British daily life.

"This is disappointing news, but we will be working to make sure that vital Met Office advice continues to be a part of BBC output."

A BBC spokesman said: "Our viewers get the highest standard of weather service and that won't change. We are legally required to go through an open tender process and take forward the strongest bids to make sure we secure both the best possible service and value for money for the licence fee payer.

"Our graphics are already supplied by another provider and our long standing relationship with the Met Office will continue as we intend to still broadcast their severe weather warnings."

The Met Office has faced criticism in recent years over the accuracy of its forecasting, particularly in 2009 when it predicted a "barbecue summer" that ended up being a washout.

The final Met Office forecasts will be broadcast on the BBC in October 2016.

1 comment:

William Gruff said...

' ... it is legally obliged to open the contract to outside competition, thus guaranteeing the best possible value for money for TV licence fee payers ... '

And leaving more money in the pot for salaries and expenses.